Haunt is one of London's newest restaurants and The Idle Man was treated to a meal and a few drinks in this great setting.
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Last Thursday we headed down to Stoke Newington to sample the food at Kingsland Road's newest restaurant, Haunt. Situated in the middle of the high street you can easily stumble upon this place and have a tasty, relaxed and quiet meal out.
The options of sitting outside or in makes for a nice change, however, it is December so sitting inside was the best option. You first go through the bar with plush seating for those of you who are just after a craft beer or one of their specialist whiskeys and then on into the restaurant itself.
Winter likes to draw us into the warm bars and restaurants for something wholesome and satisfying and that's exactly what Haunt offers you, and it's not one of those niche restaurants that serve everything on a slate plate or in a shoe, just good grub that you can really get your teeth into (literally).
We sat down in the darkened restaurant and scanned the menu for the nights treats, I have to admit we were pretty hungry. The small but selected menu eliminates the endless choice that some restaurants give you, simply giving you specialist options. Our waitress for the evening knew everything there was to know about the menu and giving us options for us to choose from.
Like all things it's best to start with a drink, so we had a gander at the drinks menu and thought we'll have a glass of wine. Of course with us being complete wine connoisseurs we knew nothing about wine, but our waitress was on hand to help us out. We started off with a Riesling white wine, we're not usually the wine types but a smooth and smokey flavour went down well on an empty stomach.
Of course we had to go for a starter, I opted for the veal croquettes with dill mayonnaise and Luke the salmon tartare (posh). Both were equally delicious and left us wanting more, luckily we had the main to come. Whilst sipping on the Riesling wine we continued to look at the menu for our main, I decided to go for the cajun half chicken with potato salad and Luke went for the pork three ways (belly, loin and cheek) on a bed of lentils and a sage jus (we're just that fancy).
The presentation of the food was great, unlike most restaurants when it's just slopped on the plate, Haunt actually makes the effort and it was cracking. Our mains came and we weren't disappointed with us both making the "oooo" sound. My chicken was tender and delicious, as was the potato salad (which I've found a new love for) and Luke's dish looked equally delicious, presented in a manner accustomed to one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants. It was one of those moments when you wish you'd ordered something the person opposite you is eating (but my chicken was too good to pass up).
With a side of chips cooked in truffle oil (yes, they are as good as they sound) we tucked in and carried on drinking our wine. The portions are just right, with mine filling me up, but leaving enough room for desert obviously.
After two glasses of wine and a more than delicious main we had to go for a desert, I mean, it's the law. With only four options to choose from it eliminates the endless choice and I instantly clocked what I was going to have, the chocolate fondant. Luke had the cheesecake, both presented amazingly - small, but filling and full of flavour. It was one of those moments when you wanted to lick the plate, but you remember you're in public so it's probably best not to.
We accompanied the desert with a delicious (and very drinkable) desert wine, sweet with a hint of fizz, the perfect sweet wine to drink with your desert.
It's normal to have a coffee after your meal, but we thought we'd go for a whiskey (of course). Again, we're not massive whiskey drinkers (after many a bad night on it) so our waitress guided us to pick the right one, a 17 year reserve Japanese whisky called Suntory Yamazaki. It was smooth and smokey without that strong after taste, making us both converts to the dark liquor.
Haunt's menu is simple and concise, only allowing for the best dishes to be on offer. Whether you're in the mood for pork three ways or the chargrilled hake you can easily find something on the menu to tickle those taste buds of yours. The staff are more than happy to help and their knowledge of the food and drink was vast, allowing you to make an informed decision on what to eat and drink.
We had a great time at Haunt and we both left feeling incredibly full and wanting to back again. We could of stayed for a go-go dancing class in their private hire basement, but we thought we wouldn't risk it as we'd had a bit to drink and were full to the brim.