The Victoria, Highgate

The Victoria in Highgate is a nice little gastropub that probably goes overlooked as it’s up the north end of the village, past plenty of other notable pubs such as The Red Lion and Sun, and The Bull. It can lack atmosphere during the week but is worth checking out for the food.

The food is excellent, large portions and great value for money. Three fat venison sausages on a hefty portion of mashed potato went down well with a pint of Sharp’s Doom Bar, and scallops with black pudding were SCALLOPS WITH BLACK PUDDING WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT. Grilled chicken supreme, also on mashed potato which I think might be a bit of a theme for the place as the scallop/black pudding combos were also perched atop small discs of the stuff, came with a perfect crispy skin, green beans and a mushroom sauce. None of this is particularly sexy food to write about apart from maybe SCALLOPS but that’s fine; it’s solid and good quality with a home-cooked feel to it despite the slightly pretentious tendency to stack the ingredients in a sort of Devil’s Tower fashion.

Scallops on black pudding. I didn’t take any other photos because I worried people might think I was a food blogger.

The only aspect that might be a problem for people is the atmosphere; both times I’ve been the place has been a ghost town, and I’ve started to wonder how they stay afloat when their only customers appear to be me and a pair of elderly women who moaned about how they didn’t receive any milk with their black coffees.

Not that the emptiness is a problem for me! Quite the opposite; for me it’s a selling point, but I’m not so self-absorbed that I don’t recognise that other people might prefer to have a little buzz in the room, a bit of bustle, a soupçon of vibe. Perhaps things are better on weekends, which is when I understand most normals actually go out and thus I stay in. I did walk past there one Sunday lunchtime and didn’t go in because it was so full, which I guess is a good sign if you don’t find people to be utterly disgusting and beyond redemption.

There’s a piano there, so I assume live music is something that happens, but they don’t seem to have a website so I can’t check that. Some other reviews on the web suggest that they have live jazz on Wednesday nights. People generally like live jazz, right? So go along on a Wednesday night to see if they have live jazz and you can enjoy some live jazz if live jazz is a thing that you enjoy.

Seriously, if you own a restaurant, have a website. A real one made by genuine web developers, not one that’s a juddering Flash movie that just fronts a few links to some PDFs and some images of your address that can’t be selected and pasted into a Map application. It’s not that difficult.

The Victoria
28 North Hill
London, N6 4QA
tel: 0871 951 100

Starters were around £5, mains around £10, can’t remember the desserts as I felt like I was going to explode by that point.