Reviewed by Sean Dodson
It’s broadly true that people who are passionate about music tend to be so about food. If that’s you, then The Foundry, in the heart of Camden, the centre of the capital’s music scene, is an ideal place to consume both your passions at once.
The restaurant forms the foodie part of The Forge Music and Arts Centre, an award-winning, purpose-built concert room, known for both the quality of its acoustics and its intimacy. Opened in 2009 by a pair of local musicians, the Forge cooks up a diet of piano recitals and dinner jazz to a discerning clientele who come here for the music. The restaurant sits in the front of the venue, divided by a large plate glass screen that means you can sit in the restaurant sipping cocktails and see and hear the acts of stage, but it remains quiet enough behind the glass to allow you to converse naturally.
The food itself is contemporary and British, but with several modernMediterraneandishes on offer. We began with a supreme squid ink tagliolini with braised squid, prawn and cherry tomatoes (£9), the pasta glistened on the plate like glossy liquorice; and also a caponata (£6): the classic Sicilian salad of aubergines, green olives, onion and capers with sweet and sour tomato. For mains we opted for quail stuffed with mushroom and speck (£19.50). Two little birds arrived roasted on a bed of lentils, mushroom cake and enlivened with pistachiocream. We also ordered the “fish of the day”, monkfish steak (£17), which came sliced and arranged on the plate like the petals of a rose. Both mains were accompanied with nothing more than a house salad (£4), light and delicate enough. We followed with a cardamom and vanilla crème brulee (£6), a nicely balanced classic, as brittle on top as it was delicate beneath; and a tocino del cielo, the Spanish version of the crème caramel. Served with vanilla ice cream, it was equally good.
On the other side of the glass screen the jazzplayed on. We finished of sprightly bottle of Mariona 2010 (£18), a Spanish sauvignon blanc that tasted too good to be the house white and generally wallowed in the ambience of the place. You don’t have to be a jazz aficionado to enjoy the music of the Foundry, nor a gourmet to dig the food. But anyone with an appreciation of both will like this place a great deal. The buildings architecturally impressive, the service impeccable, and the atmosphere sophisticated-yet-casual. You’ll almost certainly want a repeat performance.
For more information, view menu or book a table visit www.foundrycamden.co.uk