"It's not much but it's ours"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We have a code, a set of three rules that we rigorously follow when we post. Maybe, if you’re a blogger and you like the sound of our rules you can incorporate them into your own blog - cheques to the usual address - and use the logo (see photo #1) to show you’re one of us. Just to remind you: rule number one is never post without accompanying photos, rule number two is never post pictures without accompanying text.

Dos Hermanos visited The Draper’s Arms in London’s top borough, Islington, a couple of years ago and had an ok meal, memorable only for the fact that HS was the lensman that day but accidentally deleted the photos. Hence no post. I was very happy then when I heard that after being closed for a while its doors were open again. The new owner is Ben Maschler (yes relation) with a kitchen headed up by Karl Goward ex-St John, so you could have a fair stab at guessing what the menu would be like.

It didn’t really surprise on that front. Looking like an amalgam of Hereford Road and Great Queen Street, the menu felt a couple of choices short but as these are early days for the place it’s probably a sensible idea. I would expect, though, given the simplicity of the dishes – most of the starters are composed or pre-prepped – that the execution should be spot on. Expecting and getting though are two different things.

A poor pint of Harvey’s – not off, but flat as a pancake - and priced at a greedy £3.50 wasn’t a good start. Bread provided exercise for my jaw but nothing more.

Potted Pork with Pickled Prunes, in more apt hands, could have been very good, but from this kitchen was dull, mediocre. It was served too cold and the flavour wasn’t nearly porky enough. A dish like this should have you going wow with each bite and looking forward to the next forkful. Here, I just felt distracted, even a little sleepy.

I’m not sure I like the sound of pickled Prunes anyway, but I’m sure there’s good examples around. This version wasn’t it. They had a vicious kick of vinegar that just scraped the back of the throat instead of nicely cutting the fattiness of the pork.

My main course exhibited a similar slapdash approach as the starter. Ox Tongue was cooked ok but was a microscopically thin piece for eleven quid. Fried Potatoes was actually a potato that had been boiled with its skin on, sliced, then introduced to the frying pan for the briefest amount of time. Equally nasty and pointless, it was very poor treatment for the humble spud.

The Piccalilli, which appeared to be comprised mostly of cauliflower, had the same gullet-rasping quality as the Prunes pointing to a lack of maturation and attention to detail.

A little eaves-dropping whilst I waited for my pud meant I located the owners who seemed more concerned with gabbing about their plans than with dealing with the small matter of the service going on about them. I’d like to think this didn’t indicate an enterprise that is all about the moolah and zip about the food. But I can’t.

Unusually, for such a disappointing meal, I persevered with a pud. Lemon Posset would have been so much better without a layer of cream on top which neutered the taste and gave me indigestion. The Shortbread was good but smothered in too much sugar.

So there I was after a run of bad meals, getting my shit together and now my head just hurts again. At least they weren’t doing fat chips otherwise they would have had an exploding noggin on their hands.

Rule number three: if you are a new restaurant charging full price then be any good.

Labels: , , ,

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Anonymous Harters said...


Not prunes, but their cousin the damson.....if you come across a jar of pickled Lyth Valley damsons, get it bought. I think they come from the Hawkshead Relish Company (if not them, then some other smallish Cumbian enterprise). Work well with pate, rillettes, etc.

Even worth Simon doing another north western trip for the book?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:13:00 pm  
Blogger makingplans4nigel said...

drapers arms is our local and it has been sorely missed these past few months. we dropped in on sunday to test the waters and discovered a very small menu described as a bar menu. i ordered devilled eggs and never has a chicken put so much effort into something so pathetic. i was hoping that a full menu might produce something better but you guys are not giving me much hope.

where do we go now?

Thursday, May 14, 2009 9:54:00 am  
Anonymous Tim Bolton said...

Does Islington not immediately bring the association of people who can't get a real job so work for the Labour Party or the Guardian,fiddling all their expenses while technically adhering to the rules they write(and adjust if there is a problem)?So why would you expect a restaurant there to reflect something deeper and more honest?Will be interesting to see what Grandma Fay says about it.......

Friday, May 15, 2009 2:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've received a response to my post from one of the owners of the Draper's Arms.

Re the ale they've had everything re-checked (lines regualry cleaned, barrels rested etc).

They've had positive feedback on the food. So we're going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

And they're fully committed to making sure the service is as good as it can be (as they should).

As always DH can only visit a place and write about our experience, good or bad.

Ultimately, though, in all but a few rare cases, we can't tell you whether you should visit a place or not. That's down to you the punter to get off your arse and away from the computer and actually go out and visit a resturant.

Happy Trails


Friday, May 15, 2009 7:29:00 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older