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The Hunter S. (Bar)

Picture of The Hunter S. in Dalston, London

194 Southgate Road, Dalston, London, N1 3HT
Cuisine: Gastro
Tel: 0207 249 7191 | Email to The Hunter S. | Transport: Dalston Junction | Write review

The Hunter S. Review

Best for: being cooler than Shoreditch and Dalston.

Great: beef wellington; Art Deco interior; and sexy-time scenes in London’s best pub toilets.

London, you already know that Shoreditch is the London suburb with the best cocktail bars, the best clubs, and the best per-square-inch ratio of nightlife to sweat-and-cum-stained hangover. Even the youthful Lords and Ladies of west London can reel off the average cost of a black cab from Curtain Road to the King’s Road in the blink of a heavily mascara-d eye.

Dig further, dig north, to Dalston, and those who stand on the precipice of cutting edge will advise you that Shoreditch is for nostalgists, trapped in the amber of yesteryear’s zeitgeist. Dear sheep, you should follow these doyens of Dalston to a level below Shoreditch on the temperature gauge; ever getting cooler!

And yet, here am I, in De Beauvoir Town; surrounded on all sides by Dalston, Hoxton, Shoreditch, and Islington; right at the eye of the storm; and it’s about to get heavy. Here, at the Hunter S, the gravitational pull far exceeds that of Dalston and Shoreditch, even combined. A tractor beam of chic radiates from the Art Deco lamps, the wrought iron pillars, the black tiling, the white brickwork, the majestic statues, the chandelier, the bronze gold ceiling, the old jazz and Prohibition blues calling out from a vinyl era, and the three tapped ales shouting Doom, Doom, DOOM (bar!) at the bar. The photos above erroneously misguide. The darkness is a much brighter beast.

I think I’m having what is usually coined “a darn’d good time”. I know this because I spy the sounds, smell the colours, feel the odours. The world’s best Scotch egg, dipped in piccalilli, shows the someone across the table the true meaning of open-eyed excitement. I get involved and decide I’ve tasted better at The Cow pub in Stratford Westfield Mall; an argument in itself for making the trip ‘out there’ where ‘those things’ roam in packs. In an instant, my thoughts and visual appreciation return to the outstanding sweetbread starter below me. The slight taste of liver, on a crumpet, with egg, has happily become my evening breakfast.

The Doom gets the better of me, so I slither off for what, at first, is meant to be a few moments, but turns into several long minutes as I find myself lost in the prurient reveries of the best toilets in London. The trip to Hunter S could start and end here because nothing spells “I’m having a peculiarly good time” like a pornographic commode. I may cast myself as the latest online pariah for admitting this, but there’s nothing quite as cool as taking a leak into a gaping, lipstick red mouth urinal, besieged by an army of erotic lesbians, all to the tune of Pachelbel’s Canon.

Nothing quite as cool, that is, except the beef wellington, especially when combined with the fruity Esperanza 2009 Argentinean Merlot. Now, that is cool. Rare middle, salubrious purple sprouting broccoli, red wine jus; the latter poured, with a steady hand, in to the hollow gaps between the meat and pastry, like pouring your liquid soul into the gaps between time and death, allowing it to sit, contemplating, but never fulfilling, its escape.

Desserts, such as the slab of Baileys cheesecake, belie their vivacious menu descriptions, lacking freshness, and do their best to be ignored. Unlike the detritus of the working week, however, who populate the relaxed seating in the rear of the Hunter S lair, or strew the outside picnic tables, basking in the finals rays of Friday’s sun. It’s busy, not heaving.

I’m keeping company with the very hip-bone of society, with their check shirts, thick rim glasses, and Olly Murs hats. I am masquerading in the underworld of cool here, amongst philosophers, artists, musicians, independent magazine publishers, and creative social media gurus. Every single one of these people, my people, enjoys spontaneous trips to the market, makes their own moonshine, and is currently reading Papillon in its original French.

The taxidermy heads of the elk, the boar, the bear, the hawk, the owl, the shark, and the bison know how this lot operate. They look down upon this scene continuously. This is no LSD animal head freak out; this is the glare of leopard power rock!

However, I will gripe, I will grumble, I will set the hounds on this cool establishment for a peccadillo or three: the only cocktail, a Bloody Mary, and this, the heart of hangover country; the tap water tastes of either almonds or putrid milk, neither is welcome; and the service, although initially friendly, ventures into sporadic, reinventing standards of lackadaisical that can be forgiven when committed whilst wearing high tops, asymmetrical haircuts, fastened top buttons, tattoos, beards, and piercings. Water (albeit it putrid), ordered items, dessert that doesn’t take an epoch to arrive, and even the simple, succinct, reasonably-priced wine list; who needs them?!

Overall, The Hunter’s standard of cool should be appreciated in much the same way that the lesbians in the toilet appreciate each other’s company.
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Customer Reviews for The Hunter S.

Average (based on 3 votes): 3 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Hunter S..

“A good friend of ours held her birthday bash at the Hunter S on Saturday. It seems there were two quite large parties that evening that had booked areas and this may go some way to explaining the shoddy service and in my case decidedly average food. The waitress who was looking after our table singlehandedly was an absolute legend, friendly and diligent; but the poor thing seemed to be doing everything on her own. I ordered the belly pork; which turned out to be a rolled belly pork strip with overly sweet red cabbage and an under seasoned layered potato dish. Very disappointing. I’ve been to the Hunter S a number of times; always because friends are having a celebration there. The décor is superb, the food is always average and the thing that gets me every time and something I genuinely can’t get my head around is the rudeness of the bar staff and why this is tolerated. Rarely is a please or thank you muttered and the too cool for school attitude just comes across as rude. I have watched the Scots barman (he could even be management) at work on a number of times and I’ve never seen such a combative, less eager to serve barmen in my entire life. The disdain he treats customers with needs to be seen to be believed. But he looks quite cool, so that makes it alright in this style over substance establishment. Awful bar staff, very average food, good beer and lovely décor. I won’t be going back unless under duress (someone is having a do there)!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Mr andrew copley, London (4 years 7 months 12 days ago)

“f*cking fantastic!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
domain, new york (6 years 5 months 5 days ago)

“Believe the hype about the beef wellington. It is fantastic (even if it quite costly). Semi-stately decor, sexy Shoreditch/Dalston crowd, a couple of nice beers on tap, and the most pornographic toilets anywhere in London (excellent!). If you live in North London, well worth a visit.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
The Restaurant Hunter, London (6 years 7 months 17 days ago)

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The Hunter S. Opening Hours

Monday: 4:00pm - 12:00am Friday: 12:00pm - 1:00am
Tuesday: 4:00pm - 12:00am Saturday: 12:00pm - 1:00am
Wednesday: 4:00pm - 12:00am Sunday: 12:00pm - 12:00am
Thursday: 4:00pm - 12:00am    

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Venue ID: 23111

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