Dead Dolls House | hoxton

After a bit of a hiatus, call it research, I’m back and have lots to say!
Recently I went to Dead Doll’s House, don’t let the name fool you, it isn’t paying homage to a deathly childhood, or any such matter. It’s a very cleverly designed building, with lots of levels and separate rooms, littered with marker pen drawings all over the walls, an example being an entire fireplace complete with mantel piece and all the accessories artistically interpreted. Most of the tables are communal, with mismatching chairs and there’s a wonderful faux-grass roof terrace too, complete in the sense that it’s a perfect sun trap.-1What really inspired me after chatting with the creator, is that it isn’t a set restaurant, it has pop-ups and innovative ideas, like ‘Picnic In The Conservatory’. The offer is to prepay for your meal and then come to a sitting, so there’s no fuss on the day.

The ideas are great, the decor and the lighting are exceptional. A kitsch affair with secret rooms and a vintage cocktail feel. It’s in prime position on Hoxton Square and what they have accomplished in terms of innovation and ideas is formidable.

I therefore had high hopes when I signed up for their ‘Sunday Dinners’. I prepaid £25 for a four course set menu. They use a rotation system, so each Sunday a different meat is used. For the Sunday I attended, it was the beef menu. This particular pop-up is run by Checkon. A company managed by Terry Edwards & George Craig.

sunday dinners menuWe started off with The Cheesy Fingers, described above. It arrived in a small paper box, three large fingers and a little pot of sweet chilli to dip. The bread-crumbed outer layer was well executed, it was light, crispy and not too oily. All in all, very well maintained. The inside was a welcome comfort, and tasted very cheesy. Unfortunately I couldn’t really taste the jalapeno, pale ale or beef dripping, although you could sense there was something more than just cheese inside. It was enjoyable, however there was nothing not to like. It was a simple dish, like cheese sticks, but a little fancier. Comfort food, done well, but not out of this world.

cheesy fingersOnto the next course. This was the ‘Beef Leaves.’ Herefordshire beef, baby gem, chilli, ginger, coriander, cashew, spring onions and horseradish. The presentation was aesthetically pleasing. Filled with bright colours and a promise of an exotic taste, this was the bonus course, so my palate was expecting something of note. Unfortunately, a disappointment. The first thing was that the use of coriander was overbearing and all consuming, just too much to cope with, so much so that the diner to my left had to start picking it out, as it felt like a whole mouthful of coriander with each bite. The consistency of the beef wasn’t pleasant. It was chewy, slimy and if the other flavours were there, they were lost by the Goliath of coriander. My tongue was buzzing after this dish from the herb infusion. With expectations down, we were praying the third course could show signs of improvement.corainder beefThis was supposed to be the pièce de résistance, the main course, the big attraction. Roast sirloin of Herefordshire beef, yorkies, truffled roasties, greens, roast parsnips and gravy. I think I’m most disappointed by this dish as the beauty should have been in its simplicity. A roast is a wonder of comfort and simplicity, but done badly and it can be a mess of overcooked and under seasoned food. Here’s where I felt it went wrong. The beef was too thick, chewy, lacked taste and was presented badly. It felt precooked and reheated as it had a greyish hue to it, not evident with freshly roasted, browned beef. The parsnip (yes only one) was good, but not crispy on the outside. The Yorkshire pudding was a sorry attempt. It was flooded with oil at the bottom and as I took a bite I was essentially having a gulp of cooking oil. An oversight and a poor attempt. The greens, were chopped cabbage, ok but plain and a little bitter. The insult of the whole plate had to be the ‘truffled roasties’. This was worse than a school dinner. The potatoes tasted nothing short of stale. Overcooked, chewy, and for want of a better description, old. The gravy added to the school dinner effect and hammered home that little effort or thought had been put int the recipe, or cooking session and far more into the PR, as the description was far more appetising. A really awful attempt at a roast dinner. When you’re competing with every Tom, Dick and Harry of pubs, you need to pull off something better than that, or at least pull off something. The diners sharing our table had the same view as us, they were the ones that branded this as a haunting reminder of a bad school dinner.

roast beefWith an unsatisfied belly and the promise of a delicious sounding dessert, I felt a little hesitant to say the least. Mousse, hazelnuts, cake, milkshake, raspberry, mint and biscuits. I had wondered how that much would be incorporated into one plate. The presentation was faultless. Well thought out and looked minimalistic, modern and appetising. Once again, it didn’t even come close to the mark, I’m very sorry to say. The best part of it was a quenelle of chocolate mousse, it was adequate, nothing mouth-watering, but just ok. The (dried) raspberry and biscuits, perhaps the hazelnuts too, but I can’t be sure as I couldn’t taste any hazelnut, were crushed in a line and other than a twinge of flavour from the raspberry, it was pretty tasteless. The milkshake, was at room temperature, not chilled, which straight away made it quite off-putting, and it wasn’t sweet enough. It likened to just cocoa powder and milk. The cake seemed like a muted, factory sealed slice, that you can by from any Lidl with a lacklustre gloop on top. The freeze dried mint on top when eaten with anything else was nondescript and so I sampled some on it’s own and it was as if I had squeezed toothpaste into my mouth. An unwelcome end to a disappointing meal.
dessertAccompanying our meal and the best part of the whole experience had to be the cocktails. We chose Amaretto Sours, they were well made and tasted truly wonderful. If this had been a liquid lunch, this review would have been very different and I’m sure the photos a little blurry.
cocktailsI’m a huge fan of the space, the drinks and the ideas, I really am, but when you have the right lingo, the execution on promotion down to a tee, don’t for one second take your eyes off the prize, that being the food. It isn’t good enough, it wasn’t thought through and it didn’t taste good. And what an absolute shame, as in theory it is brilliant. I’ll be back to The Doll’s House, but not for Sunday Dinners.
Rate: 1.5
Dead Doll’s House
35 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NN
Follow them on Twitter @DeadDollsHouse @DeadDollsClub

The Dead Dolls Club on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

zv7qrnb

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply