Taste: The Scolt Head Review

It had to happen - all across London common boozers are scrubbing up the floorboards, pulling down the TVs and ordering a crate of duralex. Whilst not a new prospect the last couple years have seen a surge in the gentrified Gastropub and everybody wants a piece of the gourmet pie.

Fortunately, Dalston's Scolt Head has not followed the "get gastro in 21 days" guide and with expertise from the Fox and Great Queen Street has recently re-opened under new management. Almost stranded between Islington and London Fields it’s a solid neighborhood building - fronted by a large bar, trademark low lighting, plenty of exposed wood and an intriguing collection of heat & pressure dials. The "library" of Penguin books is really just a row above the fireplace but add a point for effort.

All the real regulars have been shuffled away into a large romper-room to the back left of the bar. With a stage for live music, pool, darts, boxed games and a giant screen they don’t seem to mind and it’s soon busy. Smartly zoned to the right is an exemplary rustic dining area. Bread is served with balsamic, salt’s in an open dish and the menu printed on A4 with a handful of choices. All good so far.

We went for a chorizo salad - the best I’ve had since the sandwiches in Borough Market; hearty, creamy meal-in-a-bowl of onion soup and a plate of huge razor clams in a garlic and herb dressing. All three (of the four to choose from) were incredible. To follow we all opted for Boeuf Bourguignon on mash, a sultry rich stew with a slightly overwhelming cameo of smoked bacon barging in on the senses. Shame.

That must be a one off – the starters we’re too far into the atmosphere to pull the parachute. Halfway through not just a Lemon Posset but a Scolt Head Lemon Posset and all is forgiven.

The Scolt head might as well be on it’s Norfolk Coast namesake as far as the magnetic field around zone one is concerned. That just means that for people like me who live a brisk walk away there’ll be a table on Friday without having to book ahead, a pint on the bar within 10 seconds and a selection of honest, well cooked food – all for the price of supper in a good pub... as it should be.

The Scolt Head
107a Culford Rd
N1 4HT (map)
020 7254 3965

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