The Fox makes a welcome return

Neil Littman enjoys a meal at the newly-reopened Palmers Green pub

Pan-seared stuffed chicken breast (credit Neil Littman)
Pan-seared stuffed chicken breast (credit Neil Littman)

The bad news is that more than 32 pubs disappeared from communities in England and Wales every month last year as rocketing energy bills and staffing pressures forced businesses to shut for the final time.

The good news is that one long-closed pub in Enfield has bucked the trend and reopened. The Fox in Palmers Green had closed its doors in 2018 ahead of a redevelopment of the surrounding property and the pub itself was in need of a long-overdue facelift. It has certainly had one, resulting in a revitalised and long-needed venue.

Run by the Whelan’s traditional Irish pub chain, The Fox is a large landmark on the corner of Green Lanes and Fox Lane. The pub originally dated to 1704 but the current structure was built in 1904 with its distinctive turret and exterior plaster relief decorations. It became the borough’s first ‘asset of community value’ in 2015 and also has a claim to fame after appearing in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004.

The latest incarnation of The Fox boasts a unique interior designed and finished with an eclectic mix of décor and furnishings, plus a function room available for hire. Live music and sport are part of the offer.

There is more than a hint of a traditional Irish welcome in the ambience and the food. I arrived with a friend in tow who I regularly visit local pubs with. On a Thursday evening we found The Fox was very busy and initially had difficulty finding somewhere to sit, until we spotted the function room which was in a quieter corner of the pub.

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The Fox in Green Lane
The Fox in Green Lanes

I discouraged my friend from ordering wine so we could try the beer instead. Drink prices reflect the current upward trend, ranging from £4.80 for a pint of London Pride to £6.80 for a pint of Beavertown Neck Oil. They also offer a Norfolk Ale, Guinness and Woodford’s Wherry on the pumps.

The menu shows an Irish influence. Mains cover crowd-pleasers such as bacon and cabbage; ham, egg and chips; plus staples such as fish and chips. There are plenty of vegetarian options too. My companion initially ordered a healthy option, a Buddha bowl, but they had run out, so went instead for sea bass fillet with new potatoes and veg (£15.95). I went for pan-seared stuffed chicken breast with mash, spinach, seasonal vegetables and a mustard cream sauce (£12.95) – it was so moreish I probably could have eaten a bowl of the sauce on its own!

There are also small plates on offer including nachos, lamb koftas, halloumi bites and other vegetarian and vegan options. You can even order a kilo of chicken wings!

We left after three hours, three pints and a great meal, with every intention of a return visit. The Fox has made a very welcome addition to the area and importantly its reopening has also boosted the local economy – creating 20 jobs.

The Fox is at 413 Green Lanes, Palmers Green N13 4JD and is open Monday-Thursday, 11.30am-11pm; Friday-Saturday, 11.30am-1am; and Sunday 12pm-10.30pm:
Visit whelanspubs.co.uk/whelans-premium/the-fox

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