What's the draw:
Taking up residency at the back of the refurbed Compton Arms pub in Islington, Four Legs is a homage to the simple pleasures of seasonal cooking. Chefs Jamie Allan (previously of Hill & Szrok) and Ed McIlroy (of BAO Fitzrovia) can be found in the bijou kitchen serving unpretentious British food flecked with modern European and Asian influences. Sourcing fresh produce from Keats Community Organic, the duo have ensured every dish on the menu – which changes regularly in line with what's available and in-season – reflects their laser-guided focus on quality ingredients.
What to drink:
We all know pints and pubs are star cross'd lovers that are simply fated to be together, so take a page out of our play, and avoid being a Tybalt, by letting the two share a holy palmers kiss during your meal. With pours from breweries like Tiny Rebel Brewing, Five Points and Mikkeller on tap, you won't struggle to find at least one to your liking. A pint of Wood Will Fall Down sours from Mikkeller makes a tangy companion to plump, saline olives while Five Points XPA bursts with a drinkable taste of the tropics. The wine list also throws some interesting bottles out there: Argentinian malbec sitting pretty next to an organic chardonnay from Kiwi winemaker Millton Opou.
What to eat:
Small plates are the name of the game here so order as many dishes as possible to get a real feel of what Four Legs has to offer. Fresh bread from the E5 Bakehouse is best tattooed with a puddle of just-melting salted butter for a Parisian-level of sensory pleasure. We chase that bread with a portion of beef-fat-fried potatoes accompanied by a moreish aioli dip; that trough of tats, crisp on the outside and goose-feather fluffy on the inside, more than hold their own once dipped into their garlic bath. Our mains arrived not long afterwards and it was at that point when the out-of-this-world Dexter cheeseburger (named for the prime Dexter breed of Yorkshire cattle used in the patty) caused a bit of an existential crisis.
The cheese-coated burger wasn't merely stellar, but interstellar: a lunar surface of meat pockmarked by caramelised nooks and crannies with a juicy – almost liquid – core just aching to be conquered. A nickel roll of pickles tucked under the soft brioche bun added a lick of acid to combat the sultry salt and fat of the burger while a subtler (but no less delicious) seasonal dish of hake with XO sauce and spinach succeeds in its own meticulous juggling act. Delicate flakes of hake are prevented from being overpowered by the punchy Cantonese sauce – a condiment that doesn't berate the fish but rather offers it support and guidance under its veritable coif of emerald spinach. Cornish strawberries and cream ends the meal how it started by underlining the palpable difference that superb produce can make.
Small plates from £4, wine by the glass from £5.5. 4 Compton Avenue, Islington, N1 2XD; comptonarms.co.uk