Gastrogrub at The Compass, Islington

Those that know me know that little piggies, and any possible edible derivative of them, are things that I like very much. Possibly a bit too much in fact as I regularly dream of the day when a prosciutto Spa opens in London where I can be wrapped in slices of Parma and be fed tidbits of Coppa by some semi-naked Lothario dressed in a loincloth made… of pork loin…

Now, stick the words “ham hock” beside the word “rillettes” (yum, oozing salty goose fat!) and I pretty much start hearing wedding bells a-ringing and need to whip out my secret drool bucket I keep stashed in a back pocket somewhere.

Well, the drool bucket certainly made an appearance at The Compass where I devoured ham hock rilletes with picallili on fresh bread before demolishing half of my friend’s silky, pungeant chicken liver, wild mushroom and truffle oil pate with cornichons (gotta love those cornichons…).

The Compass sits on a rather unassuming street, and in fact doesn’t really stick out much. Inside is not exactly award-winning decor either, with simple, but tasteful wooden tables and a curved bar beside the open kitchen at the front. For being a Gastropub, its slightly lacking on the pub side of things as the whole room is devoted to restaurant seating. But they make rillettes with ham hock, so after my third glass of Tempranillo Cabernet from Spain and having licked my fingers clean of any possible trace of pate de foie, I was ready to forgive them. In fact I nearly assaulted the waitress with my over eager praise of the spreadable delight.

I enjoyed a crispy seabream with squash and cockles in a soft, creamy sauce, but looked enviously at Alberto’s prettily pink roast spiced lamb with couscous and tzatziki.I somehow ended up having a Laphroaig with my cheese, not entirely sure why but Alberto seemed keen on hitting the smokey stuff so went along with it.

Cheeseboard contained a totally unremarkable Isle of Mull cheddar, a lovely Colston basset stilton, and my favourite, the rather nutty Tunworth soft rind. With cranberry chutney.

Those who only fancy barsnacks can head in almost any gastronomic direction here from “chip butty” to grilled crab on toast or chorizo in wine. Had pay day been yesterday I could have gone into these further, but sadly, I’m a lass on a (pretty rubbish) budget.

The Compass. Hopefully you won’t need one to find your way there. Pronto.


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