Food & DrinkRestaurant reviews

Haunt, Stoke Newington – Restaurant Review

14 December, 2015 — by Toni Ratcliff0

Haunt - Pork Three Ways

Sitting on a nice little plot on the corner of Amhurst Road, which people in the know (a bloke at work) tell me used to be a French restaurant called Oui Monsieur, I can imagine Stoke Newington’s Haunt would be lovely in the summer with little tables on the pavement to watch the world go by… But on a chilly winter’s evening I frankly couldn’t wait to get inside.

The cosy little bar, low-lit with standard lamps and the obligatory beaten-up sofa was inviting, and I could imagine myself perched on the side of said battered sofa quietly sipping a Martini of an evening. They also have a bar downstairs in the basement offering burlesque, comedy, film nights and even yoga if the mood takes you. But there’s no time for that now. I’m here to eat!

We were ushered through to the restaurant area which was fairly small but the huge windows meant it was still bright and airy. It had a nice, laid-back feel, the staff on hand were all are pretty chilled out casual-types and the music was eclectic to say the least, we listened to everything from Foals to Motown. The whole place had a modern, relaxed vibe; very fitting for Stokey.

Game Terrine – £6

Haunt - Game Terrine
To kick off we opted for the game terrine from the starter menu. It was a good slab of thickly sliced terrine with nice big chunks of meat and a few little salad leaves. There was a balsamic glaze on the plate which tasted nice but I feel was more for decoration than anything else. The whole thing was pretty tasty but the tomato compote was quite strong in flavour and I found it a bit too acidic which overpowered the terrine. I’m also not 100% convinced that the two went together but I ate it all up anyway so it can’t have been that bad. I personally felt like I probably would have wanted a piece of bread to smoosh it all onto before I stuck it in my gob. Doesn’t terrine normally come with bread? 

Cold Fish Platter, to share – £12

Haunt - Cold Fish Platter
We also ordered the Cold Fish Platter to share, which consisted of a carpaccio of home smoked turbot and watercress, smoked mackerel pâté with some little crostini and a salmon bonbon. Let’s start with the good bit: the smoked mackerel pâté was really good! Creamy, smooth and came with nice little toasty bread things which I just yummed up. I’ll have a ton more of them please!

Moving on, I found the carpaccio of smoked turbot a bit odd. It didn’t really taste of anything at all, and I definitely couldn’t taste the watercress. I also think that it was served a bit too cold to deliver the flavour. It wasn’t unpleasant, it just… wasn’t really anything. All a bit bland really. Although the little pickled carrots were nice.

The salmon bonbon is a piece of smoked salmon wrapped into a parcel containg prawns and some kind of cream cheese and herbs. It was nice but I felt like it could have done with a squish of lemon and a bit more seasoning to cut through the creaminess. Otherwise the whole plate, including the mackerel, felt overwhelmingly creamy to me. However my husband really enjoyed it so maybe it was just not to my taste.

Three way of pork on lentils and sage jus (£13.50)

Haunt - Pork Three Ways
Moving onto the main course I opted for the pork three ways, which turned out to be pork loin, pork belly and pork cheek served on green lentils with a sage jus. It was really nice. Each piece of pork was soft, tasty and cooked well. My one complaint would be that my piece of pork belly was mostly just a big lump of fat with only a little bit of pork on one side. Luckily for Haunt I love a bit of fatty meat so I still ate it, most of it anyway. Yup, what a sicko. Back on the plate the lentils were nice and soft and the sage flavoured saucy business was good. I would have liked a bit more sauce personally, but I thought the whole thing was really yummy and I ate the lot. Would definitely order this again.


Haunt - Garlic SpinachHaunt - Mash and kale





Alongside the pork we had some Garlic Spinach (£3.50), which was really garlicy but that’s exactly what it said on the menu so that went down well. No complaints from here. And the Mashed Kale and Potato (£3.50) was freaking delicious! Really really good mash, it must’ve had loads of butter in it. I ate tons of it and I don’t even like mashed potato! Good work there, guys!

Hot Meat Platter, to share – £15

Haunt - Meat Platter

As a second main dish we also had the Hot Meat Platter to share which consisted of Jacob’s ladder with celeriac puree, veal croquettes with whole grain mustard mayonnaise, and saddle of rabbit with chicken mousse and a carrot puree. First up, the veal croquettes were fine, they were big, chunky croquettes with a good crispy crumb, although inside they were a not as meaty as I had expected and were in fact a lot goopier. I felt like the veal to goo ratio erred too much on the goo rather than the veal side. If you had asked me what was in them without seeing the menu first then I probably wouldn’t have had a clue.

The Jacobs ladder though was a huge success! A hunk of beef short rib with a sticky, glazy top, cooked quite pink and served with celeriac puree and crispy parsnip strips. It was really nice. It essentially just tasted like a good bit of beef but the sticky glaze was great, the celeriac puree flavour got a bit lost but nobody cared because the beef was so tasty, and the crispy things on the top were delicious. I’d definitely order it again. In fact, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t an option as a main course? I feel like they might be missing a trick there.

But the saddle of rabbit with chicken mousse was a completely different story. I couldn’t really tell what it was just by eating it… and I don’t know if I particularly liked it. I’m still a bit confused about it to be honest. It wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t… very nice. Not one for me at all, I’m afraid.


Haunt - ChocofondantHaunt - Cinnamon Parfait





There are only three desserts on the menu at Haunt at present so we plumped for the Cinnamon Parfait on salted caramel (£5) and a Chocofondant (£6.50). The chocolate fondant oozed and was runny in the middle, which is the key factor of any fondant (as keen viewers of Masterchef will know as barely anyone ever gets it right). It tasted like a chocolately cake thing, which it’s supposed to so I guess it worked out for them. It was nice but I wouldn’t necessarily order it again. The cinnamon parfait, however, was really tasty, really creamy and the salted caramel sauce was ace. It was maybe a tiny bit too frozen as it took a bit of effort to get through it with your spoon, but don’t worry, I managed it. Definitely order this dessert!

One weird side note: they served some sugared pea shoots as garnish on both of the desserts. I ate them but I am not sure if I was meant to or if they were just for decoration? They essentially tasted like sugary peas so I’m not really sure if that’s what they were going for or not. Probably best to avoid them if I were you.


All in all I thought Haunt was pretty nice. I did feel like the standard main courses were far, far better than the sharing platters, and I don’t know if that’s maybe because they were more tried and tested by the chef? But the side dishes and desserts were also really good so I would suggest that if you stick to the the main menu then you probably can’t go wrong.

You have to remember as well that they are a new restaurant and so they are bound to have a few teething problems and tweaks that need to be made here and there. I feel like they just need to work a couple of things out before they can be great. I would be more than willing to return in a couple of months for round two to see how they’re getting on. And maybe I can hold of some more of that delicious mash…

Still hungry? Find all the most delicious places to eat with our best London restaurants section, including this review of DF/Mexico, Brick Lane.

Haunt, Stoke Newington

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