Duke of Cambridge by Riverford, Islington, London

HONESTLY’S VERDICT
In a word:  Organic-gasmic
Food:  Organic, seasonal food and booze = perfect
Service:  Attentive, swift and knowledgeable
Presentation:  Clean and simple food-wise, rustic pub interiors without that eau de stale beer!
Ambience:  Buzzy busy vibe, but not overwhelming – which I love – you can hear yourselves across a table.
Location:  Tucked away down a back street in Islington, it’s about a 10 minute walk from Angel tube station
Value for money:  Starters for under £10, mains under £20, desserts £6 – regular London prices for beautiful dishes from top notch organic, seasonal, sustainable ingredients.
Worth a visit: If you like really tasty wholesome food, organic produce and to support ethical producers, then you must road test the Duke of Cambridge for yourself.

The Duke of Cambridge has to be my favourite place to eat in London.

  • Firstly, it’s organic as certified by the Soil Association.
  • Secondly, Riverford* supplies much of the organic and seasonal ingredients and produce.
  • Thirdly, organic booze = no hangover!
  • Oh and fourth, it’s a twenty minute walk from our home.

Perfect.  Yes, I’ve come to view the Duke of Cambridge as pretty perfect.  I love the fact that the pub focuses on serving up the best organic ingredients from an ever changing menu; from lunch to dinner, from day to day, and from season to season.  It doesn’t get much better than this in my opinion.

The brain child of Geetie Singh, disillusioned with her experience in the restaurant industry and looking for more sustainable ways of working within the industry, and so The Duke of Cambridge was born, opening it’s doors back in 1998 as the UK’s first organic gastro pub. 

*If you’ve not heard of Riverford, let me briefly enlighten you; run by Guy Watson, started off small with just a few acres of organic farm supplying the locals. Demand grew and to date, Riverford now has four collaborating organic farms in the UK and one in France, delivering award winning veg, fruit, meat, together with other local produce from growers and small scale producers across most of England and south of Wales.  I have a love affair with Riverford and have been ordering from them for about ten years, I absolutely love the fresh and flavourful produce and the fact it gets delivered to my front door!

Geetie and Guy married a few years ago, and luckily for all of us the marriage of these two rather fabulous peeps people bought about the marriage of the Duke of Cambridge and Riverford.  The Duke has lost it’s independence (in the best possible way), and gained a soul mate!

Sneaky organic G&T whilst I wait

Sneaky organic G&T whilst I wait

Non-alco bubbly by Luscombe

Non-alco bubbly by Luscombe

The Duke of Cambridge goes out of its way to seek out and support local producers and business, to forge sustainable supply chains, and remains respectful of our natural seasons.  Quite amazingly, 90% of fresh produce used in the pub comes from within a hundred mile radius – that I find pretty impressive.  On the booze side of things, wines are organic or biodynamic, beer from local independent brewers and spirits from small producers.

Food:

The menu

The menu

Choose from the selection of starters, mains and desserts from the daily menu on the chalkboards, you can also check out their up-to-date menu on their website: http://dukeorganic.co.uk/menus/

I’m starting to eat more meat, but will only eat organic meat for both ethical and environmental reasons, so what better place to get back into it than the Duke of Cambridge.

I opted for the Chicken Liver Pate to start with, followed by the Mushroom, Leek & Barley Wellington (ok, clearly not meat, but it’s baby steps!).  My partner-in-eating had the Baked Scallops and Hake & Crab Fishcakes.

The chicken liver pate by candlelight!

The chicken liver pate by candlelight…

The delicious pate in daylight!

and by daylight!

The Chicken Liver Pate served with chutney, toast and rocket, was smooth and creamy, the toast was dense and crispy, and the chutney was tangy against the creaminess of the pate and blandness of the toast.  The rocket added a nice peppery freshness to the dish.

Scallops in their shells

Scallops in their shells

The scallops came bread crumbed and buttered with garlic and parsley baked and presented on their shell with a mini Asian style salad.  Despite being big fat scallops, you couldn’t help feel like the serving was a little on the small side.

The delicious leek and barley veggie wellington

The delicious Mushroom Leek and Barley Wellington

The Mushroom, Leek and Barley Wellington was delicious; a veggie spin on a classic dish, the mushrooms added the meaty depth against a creamy Whyfe of Bath Sauce.

The hake and crab fishcakes

The hake and crab fishcakes

The Hake and Crab Fishcakes were served with purple sprouting broccoli with a caper and olive dressing.

We shared a side of purple sprouting broccoli, which was an unnecessary addition.  Unlike many restaurants in the capital, the mains came with a good serve of veggies (not just one lonely spear of asparagus!).  Of course the PSB did not go to waste, I found room, as I do love my greens.

Broad bean salad

Broad bean salad

Grey mullet with leeks, samphire and capers

Grey mullet with leeks, samphire and capers

The mackrel

The mackerel

I’ve been back more than a few times to sample more and more off the menu and i’m always, always, delighted by what I’ve ordered…and usually what my partner has ordered too!  Sunday lunch is a must too.

Service

Service with a smile and an opinion – when you ask for a recommendation the staff can knowledgeably give you one, which is so important and not always the case.  Service is swift and efficient, attentive without being in your face.

Presentation

Kale heads make for interesting decor

Kale heads make for interesting decor

The bar area

The bar area

Big dining spaces

Big dining spaces

Prior to my first visit to the Duke of Cambridge, I’d not been in a proper ‘local’ pub for ages…low and behold, I walk into the Duke and It’s a proper pub – lots of aged wood, minimal styling, and this one is full of beautiful organic stuff!

Value for money

The bill for two

The bill for two

The bill for four

The bill for four

Our meal; two starters, two mains, a side (which we didn’t need) and two glasses of Prosecco and (oops) a bottle of wine came in at £87 including service.  No more expensive than dining elsewhere in one of London’s many gastro pubs, the difference at the Duke of Cambridge is that the produce is organic and dishes are absolutely top notch!

I can’t recommend this place highly enough, it’s becoming my go-to for meeting friends.

I’m also keen to try Riverford’s Field Kitchen in Devon….watch this space!

Contact

Organic pub

Organic pub

30 St Peters Street, Islington, London N1 8JT

Website

Tel: 020 7359 3066

Email: duke@dukeorganic.co.uk

Reservations via OpenTable: http://www.opentable.co.uk/the-duke-of-cambridge

Opening times:

12:00 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday and 12:00 – 22:30 Sunday
Lunch served: 12:30 – 17:00 Monday to Sunday
Dinner served: 18:30 – 22:30 Monday to Saturday and 18:30 – 22:00 Sunday

 

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