The Great Chase — Angel
It’s been a while since I did a restaurant review but I felt The Great Chase was really worthy of a write-up. Not because it’s amazing but because it’s so different!
The Great Chase is a charming, cosy restaurant in Islington High street. What makes it unique, is that it serves contemporary European food but is fully halal. It also has a dry bar. Now I can’t think of any place like this in London. There is a barrage of Pakistani restaurants and burger places that also are fully halal with no alcohol but nowhere with ‘fine dining’ food. There’s Yumn Brasserie which has a similar menu but not as refined as The Great Chase, but it serves alcohol. The food at The Great Chase is also local and ethically sourced which is again rare for a halal restaurant.
I was joined by my husband, best friend and her husband, so a long overdue double date night. We went without the children as this restaurant doesn’t cater for them mainly because of the size and menu choices.
Another unique aspect about The Great Chase is the extensive rare tea menu. Being a coffee drinker I thought the teas on offer at an Afternoon Tea are pretty vast, but this tea menu is crazy! Who knew tea is such a science? Clearly most tea drinkers do but given I’m not one, it was a great learning experience. The owners who double up as the barman and waiter are extremely polite and knowledgable. They were happy to explain and have a chat about anything and everything. It was refreshing to get that personal service which is lacking in most restaurants.
The menu is small (a choice of 3 small plates and 5 large plates) so we pretty much ordered most things!
Let’s get to the food. Everything was presented beautifully, a real treat for the eyes.
Best Dish: Free range chicken breast with baby carrots, confit potato and celeriac (£18)
This chicken was the best dish for me, and you could tell it was free range chicken. It was tender and juicy with nice accompaniments. A very filling and satisfying dish.
Recommend: Roasted squash soup (£7.50)
Deliciously warm and nourishing, we all tucked into this one wishing we’d ordered another one!
Avoid: Duck (£9)
I’ve come to the realisation that I just don’t like duck, unless it’s crispy aromatic duck in a pancake with hoisin sauce in it! The duck was presented beautifully but it just tasted of meat, you know that meat taste with no flavour but with fat. Ewwww.
The drinks menu is really unusual and the mixologist (aka one of the owners) really puts a lot of thought into his creations. All the drinks we ordered were tasty. I also had some cloud tea which was very welcome given how cold it was outside.
Both desserts we had, the chocolate, pecan and orange and the reconstructed cheesecake were super yummy and rich. Call me old-fashioned but I prefer a constructed cheesecake any day but I couldn’t fault the taste.
There are so many positives about The Great Chase. The food is really well thought out, and I like the fact that the menu is small as it makes it easier for someone as indecisive as me. BUT I was very disappointed that two of the things we wanted had run out. There was only one chicken dish left, luckily I ordered it just in time. By default my husband then ordered the steak as he doesn’t eat fish.
Having only two meat choices (one beef and one chicken) is slightly restrictive especially if you run out of one. Let’s face it most Muslims will come here for the meat. (Since I visited there is now the addition of lamb). However the poached sea-trout was delicious (close 2nd after the chicken) but the steak was very average. The apple crumble was the other thing that had run out. Given there’s only three desserts to choose from and four diners it was disappointing to find out there was none left! It’s my favourite dessert ever 🙁
To conclude, if you eat halal and want something different then The Great Chase is a must. It has a great romantic vibe and a nice place to chill out. Although the food comes under ‘fine dining’ the ambience is chilled and not stuffy at all. We had a fantastic evening here as the food and tea is such a conversational point. I would go again if it wasn’t so far! The menu is seasonal so it will change and they do an amazing looking brunch which I would love to try.
Halal Status: Fully halal, no alcohol, no pork.
Address: 316 St John Street, Islington, EC1V 4NT. Parking available after 6.30pm. Nearest station: Angel (7 min walk) (Northern Line)
Cost: £££ (Bill came to £180 for four of us so approx £40 pp. Includes three courses, lots of drinks and service)