7 May 2013

The Engineer

Named for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, The Engineer sits just off the canal in Primrose Hill, on the cusp of Camden. An impressive and welcoming building, it had been a recommendation of a friend of a friend, and without it, I doubt I'd ever have stumbled across it.

Despite the bustling crowds of Camden, The Engineer was a bit of a haven with just the right level of buzz without leaving you feeling as if you've been caught in a whirlwind. We ordered our first drink at the bar: mine was a Summer Cup, a twist on the archetypal Pimm's, brought to you by Sipsmith - an independent spirit brewery who produce some amazing vodkas and gins. I spied some 'Engineered' specials that sounded tasty and refreshing and definitely worth a return visit to sample.

We'd booked a table for lunch and were shown through to the garden - too lovely a day to sit inside although I caught glimpses of deep maroon walls, big mirrors and voluminous banquettes. There are also private dining rooms upstairs - perfect for all sorts of occasions - but the vined terrace, tucked away off the street was an ideal Bank Holiday Monday location.

It was busy with young families (Primrose Hill, after all), couples and friends with tables groaning under large plates of roasts on the bone and dishes piled high with vegetables. We soaked up the sun as people came and went, the breeze blowing fresh blossom across the patio, and were left to our own devices to chat.

The menu was a Bank Holiday affair with some great sounding starters, fresh bread (although they'd run out by the time we were seen to), big roasts and tempting mains. The towering rib, chuck and bone barrow burger sounded (and looked) good but, again, was too popular, so we went for the fish and chips, battered with beer from Camden Town Brewery, served with great homemade tartare sauce and minted crushed peas. It was very good.

It was a lazy afternoon so we were in no rush but we did have to wave rather emphatically to get the attention of the busy staff for both a second drinks order and our food. Everyone was very friendly and you get the impression you're part of the family.

Comfortable and confident, The Engineer is doing something right. Despite the slightly-longer-than-liked wait for garden service, the moreish Summer Cup and the old-classic-done-well fish and chips made up for it, so a good four out of five.

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