NFT London De Beauvoir Town / Kingsland

De Beauvoir Town / Kingsland

De Beauvoir is the buffer zone where swanky Islington meets the self-regard of Dalston. As such it's an ideal place to get a reprieve from either side. To the west are quiet squares and gastropubs. Venture east and you'll be up-'til-dawn boozing, talking to individuals comic book writers couldn't dream up. When you're sick of both, sit in De Beauvoir Square (with its thousands of palm trees) and ponder life.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

The sky was ominous. Clouds were scudding across the London skies like a study in time-lapse photography. We ducked into Towpath--what can only be described as an inlet on the Regents Canal; little did we know that the maritime metaphor would be so appropriate. We knocked back coffees like junkies, ravenous for the main event: lunch, which was being chalked up on the board in a mere ten minutes. I felt a cold nose on my back--we were on a date but, really? I turned to find a small furry face looking wide-eyed at me before the Yorkie Poo (Yorkshire Terrier Poodle cross) clambered onto my lap and stole any chance of my date regaining my attention. He got up to order without asking me what I wanted. Frankly the menu is so honest and good here that he could've chosen anything. He chose well though--bread soup (a rustic minestrone with bread thrown in for substance) and lamb stew with couscous. At which point the heavens opened with the most torrential downpour I've witnessed in London. We watched from our booth as the waitresses valiantly dashed back and forth and somehow everything slowed down.

Posted By:  mike whyte
Photo:  mike whyte

Rosemary Branch Theatre
A pub so unique even the walls have ears! The first, and probably most important think to note about the Rosemary Branch--apart from the huge golden sculpture hanging from the roof--is its proximity to...well, nowhere. This is a real destination pub, being that you have to make a concerted effort to go there, rather than find by accident. It is worth the effort once inside however... On entry, just have a look around, and realise that actually this is really what a pub should be like, especially for people with any sense of fun. On the roof there are two BIG fighter planes, seemingly locked forever in static battle. Around there are various stuffed and mounted fish, and above an oversized clock, seemingly more in place at a Victorian train station than hanging from the roof of this pub. Then of course are those ears. I won't tell you where they are, but go and see if you can spot them! The fun doesn't stop in the main room however--upstairs there is a theatre, with a rotating roster of plays, while art and music also feature prominently. And why wouldn't you want to play here, when it's rumoured Charlie Chaplin did many moons ago?  You'll need to make an effort to go there, but don't they always say the best things come to those who wait? Persevere!

Posted By:  Daniel Kramb
Photo:  Daniel Kramb

Puji Puji
How could I not start this review with the words "all praise"? It's not only roughly what the Malaysian name translates to, this red-themed, cosy place is also adding some much needed colour to Ball's Pond Road, an otherwise dull stretch of road lost somewhere between Dalston proper and the Islington heartland. So there, all praise to Puji Puji for, you know, just being there. And it's not bad either. Au contraire. The traditional Satay dishes are just as good as they claim they are, properly marinated with lots of spice, freshly grilled and with a sauce that doesn't, as is the case far too often, remind you of peanut butter. Choose between chicken, lamb, prawns or vegetables, or go for one of their filling Goreng options, some meatier than others. I'm not Malaysian, so may others argue about the authenticity of it all. I, for one, take another drink from next door (they don't have a license in here) to the counter and watch a new round of Satay sticks sizzling their way onto my plate. Puji!

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Vietnamese Canteen Huong Viet
On a cold November afternoon the steamy, aromatic fug wraps you up look a much needed embrace and you scan the menu hungrily, what to have, what to have? The hot sour soup can't be beaten--chunky monk fish swimming in spicy hot broth that will make your eyes water and your soul sing. We tucked into a quarter of crispy duck--more than enough for two to share as a starter--all sticky fat and crispy skin with lots of plump meat to stuff pancakes with, followed by pork steamed roll, chopped mushrooms adding a pleasing bosciness to the pork mince. I was glad I picked the chicken with French beans and chilli (extra fresh chilli please waiter) as my partner chose the Vietnamese chicken curry with coconut and although it was good sometimes it's difficult to remember that this is not a Thai joint and if you're expecting a curry along the lines of a green/red/jungle you will be disappointed. The French beans were fresh and crunchy against the tender chicken slathered in a garlicky, chilli sauce the taste of which I couldn't get enough of even though I was most definitely full.

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Restaurants (8)
Nightlife (8)
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