The achingly cool Dead Dolls Club has been popping up around East London for a little while now – first on Kingsland Road, and then in Bethnal Green, and 18 months ago the duo behind it's success, Adam Towner and Katy Gray Rosewarne, expanded into dining, creating The Dolls House on Hoxton Square – in their own words a 'short-lived pop-up restaurant'.
The Dolls House, Islington
So much for that. 18 months later and going stronger than they'd ever expected, Adam and Katy are expanding into new premises in Islington, bringing their celebrated, unique blend of homespun, hand-drawn style and home furnishing to a three-storey spot on Upper Street, along with a trendy London restaurant serving up great food, as well as live jazz, DJs, late openings and a metre-and-a-half wide glitter ball – no kidding.
If you ever dropped in at the original DDC you'll know that cocktails are their speciality, but with the addition of chef Daryl Wilson to the team, fresh from stints at The Salt House and Ampersand, food is pretty high on the agenda too. They'll be serving up roasts every Sunday, and late dining every Wednesday and Thursday (which is Jazz Night too), with the focus on stylish twists on simple classics.
You can even become a member, for the very reasonable entry price of a bottle of premium liquor. As they've premises opening up in Peckham in the Spring too, this is pretty certain to be a good investment.
The Dolls House review
The new Dolls House's light, spacious design show great improvement on what was the – ever decrepit – House of Wolf. The downstairs bar area is lively, vibrant and jam-packed with the Dolls House's eccentric regulars. The new venue has kept house House of Wolf's well-worn stage, allowing them to host regular live jazz artists and other live events.
It's worth checking when the various rooms in the house are open to guests (sadly the espresso martini bar and library were closed to visitors) as the club's main appeal is its array of cosy nooks and crannies to hide away from the bustle downstairs. The hand-painted wallpaper adds a slightly kitsch but bespoke feel to the surroundings and evokes the Dolls House's generally spirited and convivial atmosphere.
On the menu
The dining room is the most stylish space in the club, with mirrored tables and rich blue upholstery, as well as a picturesque view over residential Islington streets. The menu is simple – and the portions are large. A tasty but filling starter of bitter-battered guinea fowl with peppercorn aioli could have made a meal in itself: this is essentially gastropub dining, in a members club setting. All mains are served with chips (or crisps) and are fairly salt heavy.
Whilst the food isn't necessarily worth writing home for, we'd go for the atmosphere – and, for those who love an espresso martini, you're in good hands for this is the Dolls House's specialty.
Whilst it's a safe spot for those seeking a late night retreat post a night out in Islington, if you're on the hunt for fine dining, you'll find better elsewhere.
|What||The Dolls House, Upper Street|
The Doll's House
N1 1RQ | MAP
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
20 Feb 15 – 20 Feb 17, (permanent restaurant) open 12pm – 4am
|Website||Click here for more information and booking.|