Is there anything worse than a favourite place changing their menu and just becoming a shadow of its former self? Yes probably, famine, pestilence, war, all that stuff.
Radicals and Victuallers, an Upper Street ‘gastropub’ has been a frequent stop for me since it opened. Mainly because you can almost always get a seat and they serve up some pretty decent burgers with weekly specials. Also the staff are quite friendly. We’ve been there a lot as they used to have this fried chicken burger with blue cheese sauce which was just the stuff of filthy dreams!
We arrived yesterday and exclaimed ‘ooh new menu’. They’ve changed all the burgers and no longer have the fried chicken and waffles but they’ve added steamed buns (how very trendy), more fries and mac and cheese options.
We decided on the buns, a mac and cheese, a fries and a salad to get the full scope of their new stuff. What a terrible terrible mistake.
First up: their Garlic Mac, described as cheesy sauce, confit garlic, mature cheddar + smoked cheese. It was your basic mac and cheese, very basic with no discernible garlic taste. It was fine, very forgettable.
Second best: their buns, containing black treacle bacon belly + ancho chilli relish. What possessed them to add steamed buns to their menu of north american classics, I’ll never know. The buns weren’t bad. But mainly it was small chunks of pork belly (black treacle what?) and a bunch of chopped pepper, pineapple, spring onions, carrot, cucumber and slices of chilli. By the time we got it, the buns were pretty wet from whatever sauce was leaking out. I felt like they were going for tacos but only had the ingredients for buns, it was weird.
Just bad: I wanted something like to balance out the stodge so we ordered the Avocado and Papaya cup with ‘red pepper, coriander, red onion and lemon dressing’. As you can see, this is a hollowed out avocado shell with mainly onion and red pepper. Not sure where the papaya was, maybe on holiday with the rest of the avocado. Don’t order this.
Brisket poutine, otherwise known as ‘why would you do this?’ I got pretty excited seeing poutine on the menu, after living in Canada, I love the stuff. In case you (and everyone at Radicals and Victuallers) don’t know what poutine is, it’s French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. Here’s a photo for reference.
Tell me, do you see any gravy on this? What about cheese curds? Nope. Basically this was a dish of chips with some chopped beef and melted cheddar, stuck under the grill for far too long. I nearly wept. Why not just call it ‘cheese fries with beef’?
This may seem like an unreasonably harsh review, but their old menu was great, this one is just misguided. Radicals is still a great bar and if you want to grab some snacks while you watch a game, it’s fine, but I’d avoid going there just for dinner anymore.
You can find: Radicals and Victuallers at:
59 Upper Street,
London N1 0NY