But this was a great find. I had a dance practice scheduled at a studio on Goswell Rd. We'd decided that the most constructive way to ensure that we practiced properly was to book an hour's studio time and then go somewhere for dinner and a proper catch-up. So, obviously I put out a request on twitter for recommendations.
Back came The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker. Which is, of course, an excellent name. They also had a good gin list, an appealing post-dance posh junk food menu and a price-point that suited my fairly restricted purse. Then I looked at the map and realised it was about a 3 minute walk from the dance studio, and the deal was sealed.
It was hot as Hades, so inside the pub was virtually empty, except for a cluster of punters at the bar ordering cold drinks. We got a couple of Blackwoods gin and tonics and had our choice of seats. It's not what you'd call sumptuously decorated. They haven't even gone for Russell Norman-style filament-bulb chic. This reads much more like they went to car boot sales and repossession auctions and generally begged, borrowed or stole the furniture for the fit-out. The grunge has authenticity.
The burgers were good. There didn't seem to be a menu that you could take away from the bar, so I ordered the thing I remembered that sounded good, which turned out to be the Blacksmith burger. I didn't realise that it was going to be two patties... and it didn't occur to me to ask about lettuce, which brought nothing to the party. But the burger itself was excellent. It tasted freshly seasoned, very peppery and quite beefy. I wouldn't have guessed that the skin-on chips were triple-fried, but they were the perfect combination of crisp and floppy.
Sharon's burger was much more interesting and, I think, the better choice. Massive slabs of grilled halloumi (still with the stupid lettuce) and a pile of kimchi. An unusual fusion but a very successful one!
We had more Blackwoods gin and commiserated about husbands who haven't read all of A song of ice and fire. And made mental notes to come back and try more of the menu.