Over the course of the last couple of years we’ve been working our way round the pre-theatre options around the Almeida but it’s taken us a while to get to the most obvious.
Rivalling La Petite Auberge for the Francophile dollar Le Mercury is a resto that’s been in north London longer than I have, which is not something you can say about a lot of eateries in Islington.
What’s the secret of its success? Classic French bistro food at a competitive price. There’s nothing that’s going to blow your socks off but also I could have happily eaten anything on the menu.
To start a goat cheese salad was a generous heap of leaves with a classic nugget of goat, toasted up to give it a crispy crust. The bread alongside was a bit disappointing – limp and fluffy.
The main of sea trout was a hefty fillet of the tasty fish but beware the bones. The aubergine caviar alongside was also a winner, a satisfying heap of purple deliciousness. Chips were extra but at £3 for a portion large enough for two we certainly weren’t getting the Bryn Williams squeeze from Le M.
A bottle of house white didn’t break the bank and was adequate for putting us in the theatre mood. I liked the room – with a window seat you can watch Islington go by – and the service was brisk in the way you want if you’ve an appointment with Gorky.
Alas, that was where the evening turned glum – an hour of Trotskyite propaganda delivered with all the charm of a carriage full of soccer hooligans beating up your grandma may go down well with the Corbynistas and the guilt-ridden middle class denizens of Islington; I was glad to get out at half time and find something better to do. Equilibrium was restored by a debrief and a return to a lonesome Mrs Woof.
To see where else I’ve dined (possibly round your way) go to the GoogleMap …
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).