Pub #16: The Charles Lamb, Elia Street

Visiting The Charles Lamb was the suggestion of Cian, and it turned out to be an excellent choice.  In an area I frequent often out of necessity, The Charles Lamb is hidden away in a neighbourhood near Angel tube station, sort of off City Road, although more accurately off a road which is off City Road.  I admit I kind of meandered a bit off-mark because I don’t have a fancy gadget with GPS, but was relying on a vague idea from my A-Z, and got a bit confused because a street was going by one name going in one direction, but another name going in another direction.  At least, I think that was the case.

The place was crowded when I got there, but I did manage to secure first a not-very-good table, then a better table near the door before Cian showed up.  I ordered a pint of a beer, but was informed by the nice barman that the particular drink I chose only came in halfs, due to its alcoholic content of 6.5%.  It was the London Porter, made by Meantime Brewing.  So, I walked away with a half, which came to £2.30.  It’s a very rich, full beer, and I’m glad in retrospect that I only had a half, as it took me a long time to finish it off because of how dense it was.

Deliciously dense, I should say.

While reading a book for my eventual essay on fish & chips and waiting for the arrival of my friend, I had a look around at the pub.  It’s cozy, with two rooms crammed with seating and tables wherever space would allow, and there were a couple of people who were looking longingly at the space I occupied, along with the seat in front of me that was unoccupied.  The woman next to me was reading a copy of Monocle magazine (I recognised the page design immediately), and there was a boisterous get-together going on in the smaller room.  The pub had a sort of continental feel, as you can see from the French version of The Charles Lamb’s website.

Cian arrived, dashing the hopes of anyone hoping to slip into the seat across from me, and we studied the menu on the chalkboard by the door.  I opted for a salad with goat’s cheese, poached pears and walnuts, which came to £6.50, whereas Cian decided to get something more carnivorous: the North African lamb, chicken and chick pea stew with sausages.  The amount of time it took for our food to be ready seemed actually fairly quick, which was good as we couldn’t linger in The Charles Lamb long.  My salad turned out quite good on the whole, although I kind of wish the pears weren’t poached since I’m not the biggest fan of wine (and she calls herself a food enthusiast…), but it was still a great salad and I ate nearly all of it except for a couple stray walnuts.  Oh, and I did wind up leaving behind a bit of the goat’s cheese, because it was a lot of cheese, and although I would have happily eaten all of it, that ol’ devilish curse of being lactose intolerant would have likely given me hell for it later.

According to their website, the pub was originally established in 1839, and had been renamed in 2005.  All in all, The Charles Lamb was a lovely place.  The staff seemed to be quite efficient, and the whole environment of the pub was quite comfortable, even with the Friday night crowd.  I was a bit down for not being able to try out the apple crumble that was tempting me from its mere mention on the chalkboard, but maybe another time.  Islington isn’t that far away.

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