EAT: The Junction Tavern, Kentish Town, NW5

Sometimes the right place can make all the difference…

…for reasons I simply cannot be bothered to go into here (London Overground and the British weather, you know who you are) the bank hols were not kind to us. One thing and another, including some rather poor timing and zero planning meant we found ourselves three days into a rainy bank holiday, depressed, broke and with nothing to do. As a last minute resort I suggested we went out for dinner on the Sunday night. “I don’t wanna spend loads,” moaned R. “Let’;s just go to the pub.” So to the pub we went – and perhaps, after the Bull & Last, one of NW London’s most well-known and much loved gastros, The Junction Tavern.

And what a good decision. The place was packed, and full of atmosphere, smiling faces and a warm welcome pulled us out of our funk and forced us to smile. We started with some Prosecco and grabbed a little table by the big windows at the front, overlooking the ‘open kitchen’. It’s in inverted commas, because really, it’s not an open kitchen so much as a massive, charmless stainless steel counter with some rather frantic chefs running about behind it. Still, no matter, it doesn’t affect the quality of the food and if it aint broke…well, you know.

So, we had some excellent pan-friend scallops to start with, slippery and fresh with lots of flavour, they set us up nicely for the mains of sea trout and halibut – fishy, flavourful wonders both of them, served in rustic fashion but with enough of a flair and originality to delight the palate. We knocked a fair few glasses of some excellent Sauvignon with this and finished off (as per usual) with some cheese. And some port. And then, because it was bank holiday repaired to the bar, and sunk a few more glasses of good red. Everyone we spoke to was friendly and kind, the rain outside just made the place feel cosier, and it was hard to leave when they eventually called last orders.

I’ve had hundreds of good meals here – razor clams and chorizo with the inlaws one sunny Saturday; rose wine, local beers and snacks during the Royal Weekend; superb Sunday roast with friends and their new baby; mid-week supper with other friends and their new puppy – it always delivers, it never lets me down and it’s just round the corner.

Thank you Junction, for just being you xx