I love Stokey, it has a gaming bar for my inner button basher, is clearly underrated and will hopefully stay that way; but there's one restaurant hidden in amongst the crowd that warrants attention: Victory Mansion.
Curated by a bunch of boozy fellas, all with strong credentials to their name, Stuart Binks, Benjamin Purslow and Sam Brown-Wilkinson (to name a few) have constructed a wondrous two floor lair of vintage nitbits, 20th century charm and literature inspired innards; a trope that also follows through into the drinks menu. I didn't have the time to wander downstairs unfortunately, I was letting the plates take me places elsewhere, but the venue also harbours a plush, 60s inspired lounge space for private hire hootenannys.
The Food and Drink
Petite but plentiful, the menu echoes Victory Mansion's stance: delicious intimacy. Teaming with nods to great British classics and European ingredients, Victory Mansion isn't a piled-high pub of any sort, as the plates are defined by their elfin size, and packed flavours. Tapas-sharing style in delivery, we were charmingly recommended a cool selection of plates that would cover what Victory Mansion are trying to achieve.
Giving us an eye-full on the night? Fried potatoes with lemon thyme, purple sprouting broccoli with Sichuan dressing and candied ginger £6, mussels with celeriac and green pepper £7, tea smoked quail with juniper aioli £7, and charred leeks with an agave and chilli yoghurt. We were absolutely bowled over by the attention to intimate ingredients in the dishes, as not only pickled cucumber side a testament to the fragrant tea smoked quail, the mussels were plump and overtly complimented by the celery. I just used celery as a compliment. My biggest one however? The broccoli. If kids quit turning their noses up, and knew that the real route to great broccoli could be found at Victory Mansion, they'd likely have to start playgroup. Teased with ginger and oiled to a top note, this dish is a testament to the venue. Closing the show with a rhubarb and custard tart (rhubard amazingly pickled and cured by their own chefs), Victory Mansion clearly nailed the mechanics of gastro dining on an intimate scale.
The back bar at Victory Mansion is clearly a curated selection, so it's no wonder that the cocktails promise the same stalwart notes. Our choices on the night were once again grand recommendations by our host, and Victory Mansion waste no time in backing up their cocktail claims with lashings of booze. Created wholly by the team, my favourite drink on the menu, and the one that came with a thwack was the Hanky O'Panky at £8. Laced with Jameson, Branca Menta and a liqourice infused amaro, those that play heart with a Sazerac or Old Fashioned could find kindred spirit in this bold and fragrant cocktail.
Likely made with date night, nuzzling and knee grabs in mind, Victory Mansion is amorous to a tee thanks to its intimate space, and candlelit tables. Those bars in movies with googly eyed guys and gals? VM would be prime pickings. Housed on the night to not only a group of chums, but cocktail boozers sitting by the bar and couples to boot, people clearly go to Victory Mansion for its laid-back charisma and comfortable magnetism. This is the place to shake loose by the door, and settle in for the night. The bar staff themselves? A bloody delight, and way up to par when it comes to knowing about the food and drink on their menu.
British, wholesome, clearly storming to hospitality Victory and not yet bogged down by the East London rush, Victory Mansion is clearly a jewel in the eye of their lease holder, and a real treasure in Stokey. I'll be back for the broccoli.