Frederick’s, I like the name because it was my fathers , is in pedestrianised Islington Passage, a quaint cobbled street with antique stalls and continental style cafes. But when you turn into the rather plush Piano style restaurant bar, you’re immediately in a more sedate , exclusive world . What you’ll get is a discreet welcome, very good service , white table cloths and proper table space . It’s perfectly possible to dine here alone and feel absolutely fine, one of the true tests of a home-from-home restaurant.
Frederick’s is family-run, an institution that’s been around for 50 years.
It reminds me of Primrose Hill’s Lemonia, Kate Moss’ favourite haunt, where they stick to their winning formula and keep the same waiters for decades. 3 generations of the Segal family have run Frederick’s, and retained its very relaxed, old-school charm, and ’80’s feel. There’s a fairly extensive garden for summer, a light-filled conservatory, and private dining room.
The food is traditional, unpretentious and pretty solid.
I brought my best friend for her birthday, a good choice for her because she doesn’t like brash, crashing, and over daring. She relished its commitment to old-fashioned virtues. Nothing on the menu will wow you, but that’s not what Frederick’s is about, unless like me you fall in love with their Pan-fried fillet of John Dory, crushed Jerusalem artichokes, and tomato salsa.
It’s the balance and rightness of the whole dish that’s a wonderful thing.
Diana’s Roast guinea fowl, trompette stuffing, potato & pancetta dauphinoise, had her beaming with delight, the wine was excellent, and all around us customers were happy.
So, any downsides? Well the prices are fairly steep and my desert arrived in 3 separate bowls which was rather odd, or was I just ordering too many scoops of ice cream? But I forgive them any negatives here and frankly I did need to search for them, because they are still here, sticking to themselves, resisting all the new fangled fads and offering up old-fashioned london. Stand still for long enough, as Frederick’s has, and they’ll be top of the fashion stakes again, in the heart of Islington.