I have a staunch love of North London. Newington Green was the first place I ever lived, and while it very much felt like the ‘hood back then, it’s now an enclave of artisan bakeries, overpriced pizza and the “gastropub”. Now a proud dweller of the much-maligned Finsbury Park (SO MANY TRANSPORT LINKS, HOMESLICE), I still can’t say I’ve ever ventured further north than Crouch End (another hive of organic shops and yoga pants). Today was the day I would ride to Bounds Green! Fried chicken and waffles were waiting.
The pub itself is fantastic – lovely atmosphere with long wooden tables and friendly bar staff. There was even a bouncy castle outside in the garden (!!!) and a whole posse of people celebrating a 21st birthday with a guest list that ranged from aged 2 to 90. The first thing I ordered was a Bloody Mary – perfectly spiced and refreshingly cold. No celery or salted rim but let’s not split hairs as it was freaking delicious.
Top marks all around for the burger with sweet potato chips.
I patiently waited for my fried chicken platter while those-who-shall-not-be-named around me ate their fried chicken with waffles and maple syrup. I don’t know who came up with serving up fried chicken with waffles but it’s in my top 10 food pairings. Not everyone’s cup of tea but the combination of sweet and savoury is divine if you’re into that type of thing. I had two beefs with this dish though – the fried chicken was well-battered yet tasted of vinegar. The chicken wasn’t deboned before placing on the waffle. And there were limp parsley leaves garnishing it – so unnecessary. BEGONE LIMP LETTUCE LEAVES. You’re not wanted here.
The actual fried chicken platter was no different. The fried chicken was delicately battered and nicely seasoned – but there was a very distracting vinegary taste to it. It’s not that it was a bad thing, it just overpowered the entire dish. This didn’t bother everyone though, so if this sounds vile to you make sure you ask the kitchen to lay off the vinegar. The chips? Perfectly crunchy and moreish, as a good chip should be.
The Eggs Florentine arrived atop a couple of hamburger buns. Ex-squeeze me? Are English muffins not sold in Bounds Green? This is the 2nd time I’ve seen this and I don’t understand. Just put a muffin on it y’all.
The best meal by far was the Chicken and Ham Hock pie. So British. I had a couple of bites and the flavours were rich and satisfying and the crust was nice and flaky. I regret nothing, but next time I come here I’ll probably order this dish. There is also poutine on the menu. It is not real poutine.
We had a delightful afternoon sitting in the garden after lunch so I would wholeheartedly recommend this pub for anyone Bounds Green-bound. The food in general was great with a few duds here and there. But if you’re searching for amazing fried chicken, your best bet is to go to a place with the word “diner” or “mama” in it – I’ve actually had incredible fried chicken with waffles at Stax Diner in Carnaby Street, London. Or just git yer ass down to Little Rock, Arkansas. I imagine Bill Clinton’s hometown would serve up a mean chicken and waffles.
What to order: Chicken and ham hock pie, fried chicken and waffles (hold the vinegar), Burger with sweet potato chips and the Bloody Mary
The Ranelagh 82 Bounds Green Rd London N11 2EU www.theranelaghn11.co.uk