gourmet junk-food and speakeasy cool arrive in affluent north west London...
Crisp white letterbox tiled walls, hardwood sharing tables, Bold & Noble typographic screen prints, and knowledgable good-looking staff, that work incredibly well in the surprisingly small space...
Hampstead’s new Dach & Sons has certainly been causing a gourmet junk-food storm of late, both on and offline. Brought to you by the guys and gals at Fluid Movement – key movers in the speakeasy cocktail bar scene now trending in London – if you’ve been to Purl, or one of the Whistling Shop locations, then you’ll be aware that they know a thing or two about the theatre of mixology.
Hailed as a new departure for the owners, the interiors are splendid. Crisp white letterbox tiled walls, hardwood sharing tables, Bold & Noble typographic screen prints, and knowledgable good-looking staff, that work incredibly well in the surprisingly small space. The food here is simple, in a hip NYC-diner style: dogs and burgers, with an array of home made pickles, slaw and fries.
But somehow, they’re missing a wee trick here. Sadly for me the ‘fries’ were not fries, thrice-fried in beef dripping they may well have been, but chunky chips are not fries. My chicken and mushroom Lean Dog arrived on a teeny (impractical) liver-shaped dish; it tasted good but lacked the earthiness the mushrooms promised. Scoffing their amazing slaw (just the right amount of horseradish and dill) out of the little jar it came in, I managed to cover myself in mustard mayo, whilst sipping on a mighty strong Julep. At least the kitchen roll (Plenty, I think) came in handy to mop myself up, toddler-stylee.
My partner’s burger was brilliant, of course I insisted he share it (they’d run out of their popular Slider you see). Made from ground short rib and flexi-Gruyere, with smoked lettuce in a deliciously sweet and light vienoisse bun, created specially for them by the award winning Flour Station. Here’s the thing: with something this simple, with a local Hampstead butcher on hand, and a great business plan, it shouldn’t be difficult to get the little things spot-on!
What they do do incredibly well is their speakeasy drinking dens. Following the pointed Victoriana finger upstairs you end up at Flar P, the Hampstead branch of Purl. The teeny-tiny bar is dark, cosy and mysterious; and you should definitely book, as we saw many sad faces being turned away. Brilliantly you need to read the cocktail menu using a magnifying glass! Concoctions like Dr Hyde’s Fixer Upper, which comes in a smoked ‘eye of newt’ bottle, in a chamber of liquid nitrogen, and the Green Fairy Sazerac – twinned with absinthe, served in a chalice-esque brass vial, beguile.
The theatre of the experience is novel, and I like that. The interiors, although shabby, are not the talking point; it’s the act of watching the mixologist create the magic, and the drama of consuming them. Importantly the cocktails are strong, the waiter is witty and dry, and knows his Tapatio Blanco from his Gran Centenario. And, of course, if you’re not into all that fancy cocktail malarkey, you can always order a can of Red Stripe, in a paper bag no less.