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By JON DEAN
Thursday, March 8, 2012
»The self-proclaimed Steeles Village, a parade of shops, bars and restaurants a short stroll up Haverstock Hill, south of Belsize Park, is becoming something of a destination in itself.
The Sir Richard Steele’s pub, despite a controversial take over earlier in the year, is well-loved and counts many a celebrity among its clientele.
Just down the road, Oliver’s gourmet Fish and Chips shop is one of the finest in the city.
And now, following this year’s menu relaunch, The Hill is a gastropub well worth the steep ascent from Chalk Farm Tube station.
94 Haverstock Hill
Tel: 020 7267 0033
Wines from: £16
Mains from: £6.50
Children Welcome: until 9pm
Disabled access: Yes
The owner, Vancouver-born Michael Park, has reinvented the tariff in keeping with his Pacific heritage – fresh seafood and steaks feature heavily.
The menu also has a raw bar, with oysters, salmon and tuna served icy cold and with the tang of the sea.
Décor-wise, The Hill is like walking into an Edward Hopper picture, with some chandeliers and cool jazz thrown in for good measure.
The cocktail list has some inventive offerings as well as stone-cold classics. My Martini was crisp and to the point, while my partner’s Margarita was more watery than expected.
We chose a selection to share from the raw bar to begin. A meaty lobster tail served on ice was surprisingly not as toothsome as excellent prawns. The oysters came with a tangy shallot dressing and the tuna carpaccio was tender, and sharply flavoured with coriander.
Next up was the sea bass, which was a real flakey, melt in the mouth piece of fish and with a subtle pea jus and buttery spinach.
My steak on the other hand was about as refined as an ox – it came on an ostentatious wooden board, covered with chunk prawns and skewered with large knife.
Called a baseball steak, the tender meat had a peppery, herby crust reminiscent of South African biltong.
The Béarnaise was creamy, the whole roasted garlic bulb a lovely touch and while I thought the fried onion rings were unneccesary, Mr Park is used to catering for a north American palette.
The final course was slightly disappointing after the delights that had come before. The cheese platter was a bit uninspiring and the Eton mess lacked flavour.
However these were very small quibbles in an otherwise very satisfying meal.
In The Hill, Steele’s Village officially has a new, tasty, string to its bow.