Tom explains cod at the North London Tavern

Enjoyed a splendid night of food and wine (a very addictive Malbec) in The North London Tavern, Kilburn, over the festive period. It’s been one of my favourite boozers for a few years now, somehow combining a bit of everything into a warm, buzzing-but-mellow atmosphere, without ever appearing contrived at all.

I’d planned on trying the gnocchi, but that wasn’t on the menu on this occasion, so I opted for baked cod on garlic mash, with green beans and salsa verde. With gastropub style food – and prices – it has to deliver, and I’ve had plenty of discussion over this issue; one does encounter inconsistency even within the charms of NW6. Thankfully, this was a delicious plate of hangover-busting food. How would you explain perfectly cooked cod, to an alien, I mused later that night, after a substantial amount of port back home. The texture, the way it flakes off, the subtlety of the flavour – really nicely done.

The mash was as smooth as one of my chat-up lines a night of jazz in La Brocca, and the green beans al-dente. Also important to note the quality of bread, which I’d requested as a side. None of that powdery, lifeless rubbish here – this was proper bread! Chewy, a bit stretchy, wonderful crust.

If looking for any blips, then I’d certainly have eaten double the size of cod fillet, but at least there was plenty of mash. And some butter, by default, for both bread and vegetables, is always nice. That reminds me – a side of curly kale was excellent too (I love the stuff) – generous portion, piping hot and cooked very nicely. OK, it’s just kale, but how often do diners get over/undercooked veg? Often!

I’d have managed dessert, but none on the menu for some reason, so I had another glass of that Malbec instead. Suppose I should have had a festive sherry… I wonder if NLT still sells that Pedro Ximénez?

Overall, good work, trusty Tavern. I’m looking forward to some warming gnocchi very soon.