Hidden away off of a bustling Camden High Street, is an award winning gem that looks like it once might have featured on Grand Designs. The space is divided into three main sections with two sets of elegant sliding doors. The stunning double-height glazed ‘inside-outside’ courtyard featuring an impressive wall of plants, is sandwiched between the intimate 100 capacity venue and the cosy bar and restaurant is at the front… By Claire Cheung
The not-for-profit organisation opened it doors in 2009, thanks to the collaborate efforts of saxophonist Charlotte Caird and her husband, pianist/composer Adam. Although it’s surrounded by numerous successful venues within the area, it’s managing to establish itself as one of the capitals most happening small venues with diverse offerings and an incredibly flexible building that can be reworked to suit a multitude of different programmes. Punters can divulge in anything from chamber music and rock ‘n’ roll to contemporary jazz and soul. The Forge may primarily be a music venue, but other events include Lapa in London – a day all about Brazil featuring classes, workshops, singing, dancing and free food- Outspoken, where rappers, poets and musicians showcase their art and club nights where the walls are slid open and dj’s play to crowds of up to 300. Prices are reasonably ranged from £5 to £12 with some being free and there are discounts when booking in advance.
Events can be witnessed by simply sampling one of the famous cocktails. To be honest, the cocktails don’t quite live up to their reputation, but they’re definitely worth a try during the four hour daily drinks promotions ( and whilst soaking up the day’s final rays on the benches outside).
The food menu is short and concise and surprisingly covers all the bases of modern British classics.
We ordered the small plates of Cured Gravlax (£7.50) and the Ham Hock Terrine (£6) – they were beautifully presented on slate boards. The salmon is light and plump and works well with a thin layer of the horseradish sauce (don’t overdo it, or it will become overpowering). The Ham Hock Terrine is a delight. The large hunks of ham interspersed with pickled onions are perfectly complemented with the red cabbage and the cheeky capers that scatter the dish.
For the large plates we opted for the Pork Belly (£12) and The Forge Burger with Cheddar Cheese (£10 plus £1 extra for the cheese). The juicy flavoursome pork works magically with the roughly mashed potatoes, cabbage and rich gravy. The only disappointment is that the rind is chewy rather than crispy. The burger is melt-in-the-mouth material. Key elements in a burger for me are: quality meat (cooked rare), sat on a bed of crunchy fresh salad, housed in a soft lightly toasted bun and most importantly a single bite (and one that won’t explode when eating with hands) should capture all of the ingredients. The Forge burger ticked all of the boxes.
It seems that The Forge is the venue that keeps on giving. If the options of a quiet drink after work, world culture, a gig, date night, workspace, club night, dinner (etc… how long have you got?) doesn’t tickle your fancy, then why not hire the place out? The Forge will cater for you whether it’s for an album launch or a wedding. With full wheelchair access too, you really don’t have any excuse not to visit The Forge.
3-7 Delancey Street
Tel: 020 7383 7808