The Duke of York, Barnet

This is a minor review of a fine country pub I chanced upon and have every intention of returning to in order to sample their full menu.  In fact, Adam and I were en route to Barnet Hospital for his pre-op assessment and had time to kill.  He fancied a sandwich and I the loo, so as we passed The Duke of York stopping seemed like a logical option, and, as it turns out, an excellent discovery.  I did live in Barnet borough at one time, but certainly haven’t tried this pub before.

As it turns out, it has been recently refurbished, but to a more tasteful standard than many breweries and hospitality corporates achieve, possibly a reflection that the owners, Brunning and Price, seem to offer a franchise arrangement with rather than traditional tenancy, but they are now backed by The Restaurant Group and have a gastropub strategy that seems to be working well.

The ambience of TDoY spoke volumes for being warm, welcoming and friendly.  Even a bad dining experience can be brought round by good service, and here the staff got the balance just right, though a comfortable bar area with quality decor (plenty of interesting and authentic pictures and posters adorning the walls, which could easily have been brewery paint-it-on-by-the-yard standard) and a good open fire certainly helped.

A decent selection of real ales also helped, not to mention a tempting menu.  The chain mentality is visible with some items, but at least there is a clear intent to provide quality ingredients.  At our sample lunch the hoi sin duck wrap was poles apart from the version you get boxed in Tesco, being served warm and looking tempting, something wraps rarely succeed in achieving for the most part.  My open prawn sandwich was a half-way decent prawn cocktail layered on crunchy granary bread and served with a salad garnish and so-so crisps.

Clearly a fine pub, so what is the real food like?  Wait for the extended review sometime soon…Adam has his operation next Weds so I shall be back at Barnet hospital with time to kill!

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