Last Tuesday I arranged to meet my parents for supper at The Lion and Unicorn in Kentish Town. My dad is quite tricky to please with restaurants. He is a wine shipper so appreciates an interesting wine list, but hates pretentiousness as much as I do. He likes good, uncomplicated food and gets annoyed when the music is too loud. Although The Lion and Unicorn is part of a chain (an even bigger one now Geronimo Inns has been taken over by Youngs, although the waitress told us that the only difference she has noticed is that they get a staff discount at more places), it feels very local and unique. The furniture is eclectic, there is a cosy fire place, a lovely garden and a big pile of board games in the corner. It was also heaving when we arrived. We later learned that this is because there was a play about to start in the theatre upstairs, so everyone was fueling up beforehand.
My dad was genuinely impressed with the wine list. It is divided into helpfully descriptive sections – I had one from the ‘warm hearted reds’, and it was indeed just that. Food-wise I knew what I was having before I even arrived. The steak. I’ve had it before and from what I could remember it was pretty good. My mum ordered the fishcakes and my dad the burger. However, before they could arrive a truly momentous thing occurred.
To understand just how momentous this was you need to know that my dad is the sort of dad who will tell me and my (30-something) sisters to cover our eyes when watching a film, if two members of the opposite sex (or indeed the same sex) get within 6 inches of each other. I once said the word ‘condom’ at the table (in relation to the Pope and HIV/AIDS in Africa) and he coughed awkwardly a couple of times and then excused himself to go to the bathroom. So it was, that midway through our conversation my dad said, for the first time EVER in my presence, the word s-e-x. When I, with a small amount of glee, pointed this out and asked whether this means that he now considers me an actual adult, he, yep, you guessed it, coughed a couple of times and asked where the loo was. The loo’s downstairs Dad. I asked him last night if I could write about this incident on here and he said I could, just as long as I didn’t say that word again. Of course I won’t Dad. (SEX).
I think he was relieved when the food arrived. The grilled butler steak was as good as I remembered it. Juicy, perfectly pink and with a lovely peppery crust. The thrice cooked chips, dressed rocket, and crunchy onion rings were also excellent (SEX). I asked for some extra garlic butter on the side (you can never have too much garlic) which was a delicious dunking for the chips. Between this and Flat Iron (review here) I am beginning to think that butler / flat iron (depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on) is a seriously underrated cut of meat. My dad’s burger was apparently very good and my mum’s fishcake looked fine, although I have previously had rather average fish and chips here. My advice would be to stick to the meat dishes, as they do them very well indeed.
And sorry Dad, I promise I won’t (SEX) say it again.