Review: Arenella – bottomless lunch on the terrace, Islington

Arenella The Chapel Bar London
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Chapel Bar in London’s Islington has recently launched its new outdoor terrace restaurant, Arenella with weekend bottomless brunch options. We at Vada were invited to try this out at the end of May.

Arenella

Arenella, a name shared with a quarter of Naples in Italy, is a restaurant taking over an outdoor wrap-around terrace on the first floor of The Chapel Bar, spanning two sides of the building. To note for Vada readers, almost all the front of house staff were well-accessorised members of the LGBT community. This meant an entirely relaxed conversation and atmosphere from arrival and throughout the service.

The Arenella terrace is a covered space, so no need to worry about rain, and is boarded by plants and miniature hedgerow meaning privacy from any onlookers on the street. The maximum number of covers is 40, so even when fully occupied (which was the case on our visit), the venue never felt oppressive.

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Bottomless brunch menu

The bottomless brunch menu consists of two options

  • £40 per person – which gets diners 1 starter, 1 main and unlimited Prosecco or Spritz throughout the sitting
  • £69 per person – the upgraded version of the above with unlimited Louis Dornier & Fils Champagne rather than Prosecco or Spritz. Sipping, chatting and eating our way through 2 hours, we reached a 2 bottle limit within the 2 hours.

We started with the citrus marinated fennel salad, and the lemon & ricotta ravioli, with main choices being the chicken Milanese and steak Tagliata with parmesan and rocket salad. As with most bottomless brunch menus, the dishes were well-presented and by no means underwhelming, but south-Italian inspired menu lack any significant wow-factor. The main draw of a bottomless brunch is of course the ability to continue to order drinks without impacting your wallet.

Sides dishes and dessert options are available for a small additional price. We chose to round off the boozy afternoon in the sun with a Tiramisu (£6) and Mini chocolate hazelnut donuts with ice-cream (£6). Perhaps from the effects of the Champagne,  the novelty of being able to eat inside a restaurant again post-lockdown, or a genuinely well designed and executed dessert, we found the donuts (filled with Nutella) sublime, sweeter even than the charm of the wait staff.

Overall thoughts

Arenella is an unassumingly well-located spot for catch-up with friends for a weekend brunch or date, at 5 minutes’ walk from Angel Tube station, with a mid-range price point. The owners have created a considered, cosy and comfortable space, transporting diners out of the hustle and bustle of Angel. The food won’t disappoint, but equally won’t blow your mind – if you’re visiting with a date hopefully they still will.

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Attracting a majority of front-of-house staff from the LGBT community (whether intentional or not), makes this restaurant a reassuringly safe space, which we noted was also reflected in the diversity of diners at the same time as us.

And if you have a sweet tooth or need a chocolate fix, ask to swap out a starter for the donut dessert.

Location: The Chapel Bar, 29 Penton Street, London, N1 9PX

For more information and to book, visit thechapelbar.co.uk 

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.