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The Ranelagh, Bounds Green Road, London

August 4, 2007

Recover the chairs in velvet, get a few old dining tables and a chaise longue from the auction house and throw in a couple of chandeliers and hey presto, you’ve got a trendy boutiquey pub everyone will love to be seen in of a weekend. Except you need something more than that – if you expect people to come in and spend a tenner on Sunday lunch, you should expect them to want their money’s worth.

Unfortunately the Ranelagh in Bounds Green is suffering from profit-hungry, bandwagonitis. Customers may fall for trendy decor and poncey soft drinks, but usually because they take this as an indication that the food will be pretty decent and they won’t be made to feel like mugs when the food is served. Despite appearances, the Ranelagh is not independently owned. It belongs – like many, many others to huge brewery Mitchells and Butlers.

Last time we spent sunday afternoon there, we enjoyed a hearty sunday lunch, lots of vegetables, a healthy helping of meat, rich gravy and yorkshire puddings. It couldn’t have been more different this time round. The poor blokes in our gang were horrified when their roast lamb arrived with two mean slices of lamb, three tiny potatoes and barely a handful of veg. The gravy was flavourless and watery, and the carrots were hard, raw, and tasteless. The ‘roast’ sweet potatoes were sliced, dry and tough. Cauliflower cheese was two pieces with a couple of gratings of cheddar on top. The only redeeming feature was a generous half roast chicken – which I had to share with my companions to stop them storming the kitchen to demand more.

It had been a toss-up between here and the Wrestlers in Highgate, and boy, did we wish we’d gone to Highgate.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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