Having only been to Stoke Newington once - for a dodgy launch night might I add - I felt it was time to give the place a second chance. This is where Haunt - N16's newest kitchen, bar and events space hangout - came into play.
Haunt takes you from the bustle of busy London life and whisks you away to a different era and location entirely. Its interior is inspired by old school bars and cafes, and the space feels very open and airy thanks to its natural lighting, greenery and exposed brick work. The intimate events space everybody’s raving about? You’ll find that hidden away in the basement, playing host to everything from life-drawing to yoga and intimate movie nights to DJ sets into the early hours. Unfortunately I didn't get to experience the basement on this visit; next time Haunt, next time.
The Food and Drink
Arriving at exactly 7.30pm on a Friday night, my company and I were shown to our small, yet intimate table in the back section of Haunt. We were promptly offered both food and drink menus but feeling quite dehydrated (and with a glass of wine on my mind) I didn’t even need to think twice when it came to ordering. I’m guessing our waiter could see this wild thirst for wine in my eyes - he recommended two glasses of the house white. Now, that’s the kind of service a girl can get used to.
With a few scans of the food menu, I set my heart on the Marinated King Prawns with Turkish Bread (£12) while my partner in crime ordered the Three Way of Pork on Lentils and Sage Jus (£13.50). Both of us however met in the middle for starters, and decided to share Haunt’s Veg Platter (£12).
The veg sharing starter, I have to admit, isn't something I usually go for, but hey, people say life happens when you leave your comfort zone…or so I’m told. The tempura battered vegetables and butternut squash shots wouldn't make it to my list of awesome starters (yes, such a list exists) but the ‘beetroot festival’ changed my once warped impression of beetroot. It really was like a little party in my mouth, with its bold flavour raving its way down my oesophagus all the way to my tummy.
My prawn main ended up coming accompanied with focaccia bread instead of Turkish bread and I can’t say I was disappointed, it was seasoned to perfection. I was also delighted to see a generous amount of prawns on my plate – all of which came gently away from their shell. We ordered a portion of Garlic Spinach (£3.50) and Truffle Oil Chips (£3.50) to go with our meal, after all - a main isn’t a main without its side kick.
The Atmosphere and Clientèle
For a Friday night, there was a nice little buzz about Haunt; it wasn't too busy but by no means was it quiet. The front of the venue seemed to house people concentrating on the venue's carefully selected wine and craft beers, while the back catered for the people looking to fill their tummies after the working week. There was a surprise 30th birthday dinner in progress when we arrived, and Haunt's relaxed atmosphere clearly makes it the ideal spot to enjoy a chilled out drink or meal.
Three-courses and a glass of wine later, Haunt's cool vibe and tasty nosh certainly won a couple of new admirers after this visit. Cosy, intimate and flooded with natural light, it's a relaxed neighbourhood spot that promises to bring something new to the Stokey scene.