Friday, 21 February 2014

Old Fountain - Old Street, London

Old Street roundabout is the poster child for UK tech. The looping arms of the ad hoardings, the swirling taillights of a lengthy shutter speed. Squint and it's Blade Runner. In the cold pale light of day, that shine wears off though. The roundabout, just a maintenance yard covering a warren of tramp alleys and the claustrophobic station beneath. Even the beach ball bailed.

Perhaps an analogy for Shoreditch - a shiny tin-foil facade stretched across the ruins of 20th century London - or perhaps too many drinks with lunch at the Old Fountain; but, if that wafer thin analogy of Shoreditch holds true, then the Old Fountain is the reverse. A 1980s style pub (how would I know?), complete with worn green carpet and old men perched on stools nursing a half-pint through the various stages of evaporation, hides a modern menu, active Twitter account, and an ale list to kill for. Again, a CAMRA award or three hang behind the bar, but no Old Peculiar here, I’m drinking the evolutionary craft beer that is Zenith (4%) from Summer Wine Brewery.

Dotted with a few suits, a couple of local types, the old men at the bar, and a visiting couple from up North looking for a McDonald’s (dream on), at lunchtime the Old Fountain has a quiet atmosphere where two reprobates in the corner talking loudly disturb everyone. After two pints of Zenith, we didn’t care, although once the food arrived we quietened down. Eating a fairly standard salt beef sandwich, with fairly standard pub chips, I looked on in envy as an entire portion of duck confit large enough for two was consumed by one. Jealousy doesn’t begin to describe it, but I had the choice. I made my bed, and lay in it. I can’t complain. On a return visit - and there will be one - I’ll avoid the sandwiches and drive into a main. The only way to go.

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