The Alwyne Castle – just a short walk from Highbury & Islington Station in North London – is your quintessential cosy English pub. Every year, it fully embraces the fun and festivities of Christmas; fir trees adorned with twinkling lights, dining by candlelight and a warm, ambient atmosphere make this the perfect location for your Christmas party, not to mention the Festive Menu of incredible dishes featuring classic Christmas flavours and decadent puds. And it’s a steal at only £24 for three courses.
Starters include a silky parsnip and honey soup, elegant sloe gin cured salmon, thyme and garlic mushrooms with a rich Stilton sauce, chicken liver parfait served with a wintery Bramley apple and fig chutney and a seeded goat’s cheese roulade, which I chose.
A generous portion of creamy soft goat’s cheese, rolled in fragrant herbs is served with delicate slices of red wine poached pear, glistening sugared pecans, baby kale and a drizzle of sweet honey; an absolutely beautiful combination that I enjoyed with a gently fizzing glass of Prosecco.
The mains covered all bases, from a traditional turkey dinner (with the added luxe of Gran Marnier and ginger stuffing) and a fruity parsnip, carrot and cranberry nut roast for veggies, to pan-roasted sea-reared trout with a Devon crab crush and luxurious Prosecco lobster sauce. I went for the slow-cooked blade of beef, served on smooth horseradish mashed potatoes with honey roast carrots and parsnips, crisp Brussels sprouts and a tasty jus. The beef was tender, meaty and packed with savoury umami flavour.
Allowing ourselves a considerable pause between savoury and sweet, my friends and I enjoyed a bottle of velvety Merlot before ordering dessert. I chose the Welsh honey, Medjool date, fig and pistachio frangipane tart, served with a light whipped cream and blackcurrant sauce. Intensely nutty, buttery and fruity, this was a delicious end to one of the best meals I have had this year.
The Alwyne Castle
83 St. Paul’s Road
T: 020 7359 7351
Open 12:00pm-23:00pm (Sun-Wed); 12:00pm-00:00am (Thurs & Fri); 10:00am-00:00am (Sat)
NB: For the Festive Menu, courses must be pre-booked upon reservation.