The Oxford, Kentish Town
256 Kentish Town Road
020 7485 3521
by Hashley Brown
It’s a shame, and much to The Oxford’s disadvantage, that the ubiquitous Burger King empire has taken all proprietary rights on the ‘chargrilled’ taste sensation. The humble BBQ has escaped this branding due to a national inability to anything but cremate dinner during all home attempts at chargrilling; but for this newly refurb’ed gastro-eatery the comparisons are unnervingly accurate.
First things first, it looks good. A hefty pub recently kitted out in the North London Gastro Super Store’s latest line – Pensive Yet Elegant; large wooden tables, black walls, gigantic mirrors, the odd chandelier. OK, so it looks like almost any other recently gentrified aspirational pub but it’s not a bad look. The open kitchen at the back serves a selected brunch menu, which on paper looked like a worthy morning adversary - and on the plate it looked good too. Sausage, bacon, black pudding, egg(s), tomato, beans, toast; and not just your normal ingredients either: meaty butchers sausage (although I prefer a rougher cut), thick bacon, vine tomato, some sort of Italianate bread – all pretty fancy.
But as my father has always said: good ingredients in the hands of an average chef will always be less than the sum of their parts – or something. Basically it tasted rubbish. Everything was chargrilled – which made everything taste a lot like a bacon double cheeseburger. Any breakfast where each bite leaves you trying to recall a flavour, only to finally realise the taste is that of a garish fast food chain, will unnerve even the most gastronomically challenged diner. Bacon should taste like bacon, not a burger. Sausages should taste like sausages, not a burger. Toast should taste like… I think you get the idea.