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Wenlock & Essex (Restaurant)

Picture of Wenlock & Essex in Angel & Islington, London

18-26 Essex Road, Angel & Islington, London, N1 8LN
Cuisine: British
Tel: 0207 704 0871 | Email to Wenlock & Essex | Transport: Angel | Write review

Wenlock & Essex Review

Best for: taxidermy curiosities and thrills down in the lavatories (or so the neon sign claims).

Great: Vaudeville-slanted sister bar to The Electricity Showrooms in Shoreditch.

Take one ordinary empty box and give it to one standard sized, off-the-shelf bloke in London. Then ask him to fill that box with the things he most likes. He’ll look at you, confused, then examine the box, inside and out, before seeking clarification: “what, anything?”

You’ll nod. He’ll raise his eyebrows. You’ll smile. He’ll flex his fingers. You’ll wince when his knuckles crack. He’ll start adding imaginary notions and ideas to a real, tangible box, because that’s what happens when metaphorically compiling feelings about a bar you visited in north London recently.

Naturally, first to go in the box will be beer. Being a standard London bloke, he doesn’t believe in monogamy with one type of beer and, at first, he’ll have difficulty deciding which of the many varieties he likes more: the Scottish Brewdog 5am Saint amber ale; the Brooklyn gold lager; or the local Camden Ink stout, for example. You’ll tell him to put all three into the box (which is waterproof, for the sake of this analogy), along with any other bottled, draught, or cask craft beers he might have in his little black book.

Next, he’ll rub his standard London sized belly and bark “FOOOOD” in much the same way your labrador barks when it knows a round of ball-fetching is imminent. You’ll remind him that food is quite a large, encompassing subject and that this is a box of average dimension, so could he be a little more specific please. He’ll instantly confess a love of all things rich, heavy and plentiful; of all things crispy edged, baked, smothered in poached cherries, and made of Camembert; of all things salmon and wild; of all things sauteed and beetroot; of all things squid and chorizo. You’ll make a remark about how overpowering that all sounds, and he’ll simply reply, “It’s my box.”

He’ll pause and contemplate his voracity momentarily. He’ll look down into the box and mention that he imagined the salmon would be cooked rare and not look like it’d been in the oven for the last 4 weeks. He’ll also state that he doesn’t recall asking for uninspired vegetarian options, but that those capers in the salad do offer a welcome zing.

A brief silence will be followed by a click of his fingers and the word ‘tunes’. Frantically, he’ll grab a lumpy bit of blues music, a slab of hot steaming rockabilly, a mess of indie, a fistful of hiphop, a scoop of swing, a chunk of rock, a bucket full of soul, a gigabyte of dance, a hat full of ska, a can of dancehall and cram them into the box. You’ll point out that he’s left pop and RnB on the floor. He’ll turn and raise his eyebrows at you once again. This time you’ll concede, “point taken.”

In the interest of keeping the analogy succinct, you’ll ask him to throw the remaining items into the box at a higher frequency. Unsurprisingly, in go beautiful girls, in their myriad delightful formats (from jovial perky waitresses to card-playing smokers in conversational print dresses); followed by the theatre of live music, cabaret, burlesque, and swing dance lessons; whilst bringing up the rear, all his friends, minus their annoying mobile smart phones, harmoniously engrossed in hot sunny evening chat about how middle class they have all become.

Being a normal London bloke, he’ll have a few hidden peculiarities, and will try to sneak a few items into the box without you noticing, although you’ll clearly see him doing it, and wont really mind either. His secret penchant for The Moulin Rouge and Americana will manifest as corseted lampshades, French red, revolving doors, diner booths, disco floors, and Chesterfield sofas; and to highlight his seedier side, the box will also contain cosy back room lounging beds, surrounded by wall mirrors and neon flashing naked ladies.

Unfortunately (for our bloke), yet fortunately (for everyone else), a box containing big windows, big sound, big space, big servings, big urinals, big love, and big fun has no room for big sport, in the form of a Sky Sports plasma screen, and try as he might to frustratedly squeeze it in, he’ll eventually feel your hand on his shoulder, followed by the words, “that’ll do, pig; that’ll do.”

There is a reason why burger and blues joints like the Wenlock & Essex bar and club provide London with so much rich, elaborate and slightly overpriced entertainment and ‘thrills’: so that people like our London lad don’t have to play with empty boxes for the rest of their lives. more

Customer Reviews for Wenlock & Essex

Average (based on 4 votes): 4 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Wenlock & Essex.

“I visit said pub every Sunday for a roast dinner and a pint. I am never disappointed,and what is more, I am not easily pleased. The food quality is excellent as is the service .My only criticism is the chicken option is a little on the large side. Also I enjoy the music every week as the DJ plays only 7 inch vinyl.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
John Oconnor, london (10 years 3 months 9 days ago)

“We loved it here! Made a second visit on a friday night for a friend's 30th and it was fantastic. Great cocktails (we had a Mai Tais) and couldn't help but try out the light up dance floor. We'll be back!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
L Debevoise, london (10 years 6 months 21 days ago)

“Who said Gastro Pubs were dead, this little well i say little, the old Living Room site is huge has changed my mind completly on the whole Gastro Pub race. A complete new referb consisting of old school pub meets Circus charm is just what Angel/Islington has been crying out for. Long gone are the days of dirty old pubs smelling of your grandmas house, this venue is slick, stylish and oozes class without making you feel out of place in a pair of jeans, drinking ale and chowing down on some pork scratchings. The food menu itself is good enough to stand alone and my Venison pie and mash did just the job after numerous pints. I couldn't manage a cocktail but this weekend I'm going to try out their impressive, well thought out list. Get down and check it out, see you at the bar.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
William Arman, Essex (10 years 8 months 2 days ago)

Show all user reviews for Wenlock & Essex

“What a fantastic change from the Living Rooms! A fresh bustling circus themed pub which was really buzzing when we came in last Thursday. I came with my girlfriend who is really pedantic about her steak, and decided to risk it and ordered the Rump steak whilst I had the fish cakes. My fish cakes were beautifully cooked, crusty on the outside and really moist and flavorsome inside. The lady couldn't fault the steak which is a first-we are coming back! Casual yet attentive service makes this the perfect wind-down after work place, and the beer selection is pretty impressive. I'm only sorry I had work in the morning otherwise I would have stayed to sample a few more of the beers....”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Michael, London (10 years 8 months 2 days ago)

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