The Handbook
The Handbook

What happens when you take a permanent marker and get to work illustrating the walls of a three storey Victorian town house in Islington? Well you get The Dolls House.

Currently owned by Adam Towner and Katy Gray Rosewarne the venue is stripped back, minimalistic but with an air of grandeur – chandeliers, gold topped tables, exposed walls and large mirrors bouncing light around the room.

Downstairs you’ll find The Parlour which is a the bar and upstairs houses the two function rooms; The Library and The Drawing Room and at the top is The Ballroom which is the restaurant that also turns into a member’s bar after service has finished.

We went during the day for lunch but I have a feeling though that this is the sort of place you want to go to at night – when it’s bustling, candle- lit and there is more of atmosphere because when we were there it was empty and almost felt like they hadn’t properly opened yet.

The waiters and waitresses were lovely, helping with my hangover by fixing me up an Old Fashioned but the service was quite slow (15 minutes for one drink), which was too long especially given since there were about 6 members of staff working. 

The Sunday  menu is kept simple, as you can imagine it’s all about big traditional roast lunches and a succinct starter menu.  We began with thick cuts of salmon served with gin crème fraiche and pickled cucumber and it was delicious. Not refined like the usual smoked salmon you buy, it was meatier, rougher but full of flavour and for £6 you certainly got your money’s worth.

All roasts come with a Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roast potatoes, honey roasted roots and seasonal vegetables and they certainly don’t hold back, the plates being piled high. It was a welcomed sight on a cold, crisp Sunday. The loin of pork was perfectly cooked and topped with crackling – which apparently is further dehydrated for extra crunch, whilst the venison was finished with a peppercorn sauce. If you can save space for pudding then you’re doing well.

The food was cracking, but the atmosphere wasn’t great it was a shame that more people weren’t there, although I would be conscious of how slow the service might be. That said I would definitely want to go back one evening  for drinks to see how it compares.