If there’s one thing Islington isn’t lacking, it’s great boozers but there’s a new kid on the block and it’s already established itself as one of the best gastropubs in the whole of the city. The Baring, on a quiet backstreet just off Regent’s Canal, looks understated with dark green paint and dried flowers lifting the otherwise sparingly decorated room, but there’s some serious pedigree making the place run.
Adam Symonds and chef Rob Tecwyn met at The Bull and Last in Highgate 10 years ago, and since then Rob has been head chef at the likes of Dabbous and The Henrietta Hotel, as well as stints at Moro, Morito and Kerridge’s Bar and Grill. Adam, meanwhile, spent five years at the helm at the Bull and Last, before moving on to the celebrated Notting Hill restaurants Orasay and Six Portland Road.
The Baring definitely leans more towards the gastro rather than the pub, though there are stools at the bar where you can perch with a pint from some of the UK’s best small breweries or a bottle from the low-intervention wine list. Sustainability, seasonality and provenance are central to the operation here for both the drinks and the food and it’s a superb menu that goes beyond standard gastropub fare by effortlessly incorporating different cultural influences into the dishes.
We started with grilled leeks smothered in a creamy gribiche, studded with hazelnuts for crunch, and a lovely piece of charred mackerel sat on salmorejo, a thicker, richer, gazpacho style soup, with the black skin of the fish contrasting pleasingly with the vivid red of the sauce.
The kitchen showed they can do hearty with the suckling pig loin with its soft meat and thinnest crackling crust, with a generous helping of white beans and spring greens but the salt marsh lamb dish highlighted they can do flavour – tender slices of rump, a moreish spiced kofte, smoked aubergine puree, another sprinkling of nuts, and friggitelli peppers. And the chips, served with a proper garlic mayo, are some of the best you’ll find anywhere in London. A hefty spoonful of chocolate ganache, finished with olive oil, sea salt and macadamia nuts disappeared without a trace too.
The Baring is the very definition of a neighbourhood gem and locals are lucky indeed to have this on their doorsteps.
55 Baring St, London N1 3DS