Little known fact: in between writing Animal Farm and 1984, George Orwell wrote a treatise on ‘the perfect pub’ – and it was inspired by The Compton Arms.
So, to put it mildly, the place has a lot to live up to. But by filling their kitchen with residencies like Tiella, they can’t be accused of not trying.
Tiella’s the work of Italian chef Dara Klein. She basically grew up in her family’s kitchen after they moved to New Zealand from their native Puglia. And like most young people, she wanted to move away from the family business and explore the wide open world, which she did. And like most people, she realised that Italian food is among the best on earth, and being able to make it well is a gift. So, after having worked her way up through the ranks at places like Brawn, Trullo, and Sager + Wilde, she’s now in charge of her own outfit at The Compton.
Pull up a pew at one of the pub’s simple, Victorian-style wooden tables, and you can expect to peruse a daily-changing menu of dishes ranging from delicately salty sage & anchovy fritti, to a warming braised hoggett shoulder and polenta; or some steamed asparagus with buffalo mozzarella and saffron sauce. And of course there’s always an outside chance of some actual tiella – a Puglian dish of rice, potato, onion and mussels.
While Tiella’s taken over the kitchen, the bar remains constant: this cosy Islington backstreet hideaway has a full run of the regulars now that it’s a freehouse. Try their Compton lager, or dip into the lists of biodynamic wines and cocktails (including no less than three different negronis) made from locally sourced spirits.
Those, plus the food, make quite a cocktail.
NOTE: Compton Arms is open Tuesday – Sunday (kitchen closed Tuesdays). You can find out more, and book a table for dining, HERE.
Compton Arms | 4 Compton Avenue, London, N1 2XD
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