£9 At long flippin' last: awesome burgers come to Stoke Newington, courtesy of Will Dee, head chef at The Prince pub on Kynaston Road
As a long time resident of Stoke Newington I can't tell you how happy I am to see
pub on Kynaston Road refurbished (beautifully) and serving a selection of top craft ales, mostly from the plethora of excellent local London breweries to have emerged in the last few years - Beavertown, Camden Town Brewery, Five Points, Hackney Brewery, London Fields Brewery, Pressure Drop, The Redchurch Brewery and more...
I'm even happier that it's also serving unpretentious, lovingly prepared seasonal food cooked by ex-St John Hotel chef, Will Dee, who, prior to becoming head chef at The Prince, has also worked with Trish Hilferty at The Canton Arms in Stockwell and ran his own pop-up in Kentish Town's Grafton Arms as
"My pop-up was about nurturing an ethos of respect for seasonal ingredients and a no wastage policy," Will explains. "I called it The Fat Butcher because I wanted to reap the various benefits of using whole animals - from price to ethics and quality control in terms of hanging and ageing meat myself. I learned a lot about butchery and curing meat from Trish at the Canton arms and her sous chef, Mike Davies."
The food at The Prince with Will in charge in the kitchen is very much a continuation of The Fat Butcher ethos. "I'm interested in everything artisinal," he continues. "The idea is that I make what I can in-house, from sometimes badly behaved sourdough bread, to homemade ketchup and the charcuterie. I think it's important to be confident and firm about what we do and push punters in the direction of what we want them to experience, rather than just producing a predictable pub menu."
Fortunately, one thing Will is happy for The Prince's punters to experience is a truly delicious burger. Simply titled "The Prince Burger" on the menu, you can opt to have it with either Cheddar or Stilton. At its heart is an extra fatty 180g aged beef patty supplied by Nathan Mills at The Butchery (I take huge pride in having introduced Will to Nathan) and it's served in a wonderfully squishy glazed white bun with pink pickled onion, shredded iceberg lettuce and a dollop or three of homemade ketchup. Will actually conceived it to be served with Stilton, and even though I NEVER ORDER BLUE CHEESE BURGERS, I strongly advise you check the Stilton version. It's very good indeed...
"The beef that Nathan and Ruth at The Butchery supply for our burgers is pretty special," says Will. "It doesn't come from cows that have been pumped full of grain or beer or anything. And it hasn't' been massaged by Brazillian virgins or flown business class to the Bahamas – it's just good ol' well-reared, free range, grass-fed, 35 day aged British beef that tastes amazing. I don't use a specific cut or blend but rather the meat in our patties is all steak trim. I believe a burger is a great way of using up the pieces of good meat that don't quite make the serving cuts - i.e. the trim from short rib, ribeye, onglet etc. The lean meat is then blended with 35% of its weight in beef fat of the same age. So for every 1kg of lean meat, 350g of fat is added."
"I cook each patty medium rare and rest it for as long as I cook it. The cheese is either Keen's cheddar or Stilton and we garnish it with Kühne gherkins, our house-made sweet pickled red onions which have loads of spices and herby seeds in the pickling liquor that give little bursts of flavour when you eat the burger. There's also shredded iceberg lettuce, a very strong dijonaise and our smoked house ketchup. It's all housed in a bun made by Nick, a local lad who runs a bakery in Walthamstow."
Yup, this burger is pretty damn special but it's not just the burger that I'm excited about here. The pub's beautiful refurbishment – it's hard not to notice and appreciate the handmade wooden parquet-style tabletops and stunning herringbone bar made from reclaimed wood by
at the Bexhill & Hastings Wood Recycling Project – combined with the management's obvious enthusiasm for locally brewed craft beer AND its acquisition of Will Dee as head chef amounts to a really impressive statement of intent. This is my new happy place.
59 Kynaston Road
London N15 0EB
Tel: 020 7043 5210