The Forge and Foundry, Camden, Music and Arts Venue:
So, my friend the Hedonist invited me for lunch. He’s a jazz/cabaret musician of some reputation and I assumed he’d been asked to review The Forge and Foundry for that reason. It’s a new arts venue which serves up an eclectic mix of Jazz, Classical and World music in a relaxed, modern intimate setting a few minutes from Camden Road tube.
A quick tour around the place made it obvious this was really quite special. The performance area is flexible and can be turned from a small enclosed concert hall into a larger and more relaxed space by some ingenious folding doors. Similarly, the downstairs bar can be screened off from the performers by a second set of doors. Upstairs, there’s a more formal dining area which I understand is only open in the evenings. The forthcoming music juxtaposes appearances from Jean Toussaint, Tim Garland, the Florin Ensemble, with more unusual artists like Amira Kheir, bringing her own fusion of jazz and Sudanese singing and the Circle of Sound, billed as hypnotic Indian music.
But we were, as it happens, there to review the food which turned out to be not bad at all!
I started with Sicilian Proscuitto, a lovely dish of meat with fruit and leaves garnish. I’ve got rather used to eating good cured hams from a week in Tuscany but this didn’t disappoint at all.
The Hedonist chose the Pumpkin and Sage ravioli. Or should I say, it chose him. In terms of main dishes , other that the interesting ploughman’s options, the menu is quite short and although very creative there’s not a great deal of choice for a pescatarian or vegetarian.
Needless to say, his main was the roasted salmon, the fish of the day – which was pronounced delicious. I chose comfort food (it’s VERY wintery) in the form of roast duck breast with caramelised apples and pomegranate sauce which was a little overcooked for my taste though good value at £16 including the potatoes and easy to eat. The sides of fries, new potatoes and spinach were spot on though.
Dessert was a chocolate fondant pudding with icecream for me. Very nice but nothing exceptional here. The Hedonist went for a trio of sorbets which looked like a better choice and included their newest flavour.
We dined as guests of The Forge and Foundry , but from the menu, starters are mostly around £6 and mains range from £8.50 up to £19. The venue has a good wine list and an interesting cocktail menu. Downstairs it’s a modern café style with plenty of space between the tables while upstairs there’s a more formal looking restaurant. The Sicilian heritage of the menu is clear (the venue used to be a restaurant called Caponata) but it now includes some traditional British dishes together with a range of ploughman’s platters
The Forge and Foundry can be found at 3-7 Delancey St Camden Town, NW1 7NL