Retarded Reviews: The Prince Albert, Camden

Today I branch into reviewing London social establishments, my ire having been roused by the Prince Albert, an alleged gastropub located slightly off the beaten Camden track. I went with high expectations, and had them all expertly crushed. Service was disinterested verging on insolent (“Hi, do you know what time the live music starts?” “No idea.” <wanders off>). There was pretentious literature on all the tables pronouncing the place’s rare character and “eclectic interior”, the latter description presumably written by someone who thinks having both tables and chairs in a pub is a dangerous concession to indulgence.

My main complaint was the food, however, described in the blurb as “fine dining”. Whatever one’s opinions on the gastropub revolution, you at least expect to get something edible. I opted for the “sausage and mustard mash with onion jus”, this unnecessary violation of innocent gravy being on reflection a very bad sign indeed.

Poop.It’s hard to cock up sausage and mash with onion gravy. If one were to try, however, the Prince Albert provides a handy tutorial. First, select overspiced, under-meated sausages with a rusk content higher than the average kindergarten and the texture of insulating foam. Then bake the crap out of them until they form a thick, impermeable coating of gnarled casing that goes “bonk” when you hit it on a table, and resists being cut like a tortoise wearing kevlar. For the mash, eschew actual potatoes for the main part, preferring instant mix with Coleman’s mustard powder added. It can be challenging to get the right lumpy consistency with mix, though, so you may want to have some elderly chopped potatoes on hand to lend the necessary gravitas to your meal.

Finally, as any fule kno, onion gravy is exactly like a strip tease – less is more. Indeed, if you provide sufficiently little “jus”, your victim–sorry, “customer”–will have no idea how good it was, and will give you much benefit of copious doubt (they have already been wowed by your prowess with the humble potato). Serve at a tenner for fun and profit, perhaps using said bill to blow your nose in the customer’s face. After all, your establishment has bestowed upon itself a “new, more refined role” – these peons should be grateful for your benevolence in not having them roundly thrashed.

In summary, I give the Prince Albert three out of ten, this being the number of times the urinals overflowed in our presence.

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