The word “haunt” alternately conjures up notions of ghouls and poltergeists, or of a local place you can have a few drinks in familiar surroundings. Haunt London, on Stoke Newington High St (N16) epitomises the latter – a place to frequent and feel at ease.
Its position is on an unfortunate crook of the main road that lies between Stoke Newington’s quieter, humming evening life and Dalston’s raucous strip of bars and Turkish joints. In many ways this summarises its charm, coupling great food by guest kitchens, refined cocktails and notable quirks of decor – think chimney breasts adorned with fairy lights; mosaic flooring; illustrations on the wall – with the promise of potential debauchery beneath (Haunt runs excellent, affordable club nights as well as cabaret, see hauntlondon.com/events for details).
The central premise of Haunt is its great food and drink – series regulars Old Fashioned and Espresso Martini are given the respect they deserve, while current kitchen resident Skins lauds itself as a “reincarnation of the much loved 1980’s loaded potato skin”.
At £5 a pair the indulgence is guilt-free, no less because they donate their food excess to local social enterprise Hive Dalston social project where it gets served to the homeless.
Overall, Haunt is well worth that one extra stop on the 149 bus or that five minute extra walk, for an evening spent in good company with darn good liquor.
Skins takes up its kitchen residency until 18 December 2016
182, Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7UY | 020 7249 1203
We were hosted by Haunt London but all views remain unbiased