There’s an area smack bang in between Stoke Newington’s Church Street and Dalston Junction that just got that little bit better. Victory Mansion recently opened and has been building a loyal following from local residents since swimming the doors open. A little something for everyone – it’s a cafe, a cocktail bar, has a genius chef in the kitchen and hosting a bunch of monthly pop ups that may not be on your radar but probably should.
A collection of five friends from the bar and restaurant industry who all decided to chip in together to open up a place they they through was missing from the London bar and dining landscape. The venue itself has had a tidy refurbishment done on a budget but done so well that you don’t ever notice. They had to be super resourceful and didn’t hire anybody to do the work – they all did it by hand and it feels all the more authentic for it.
The cocktail scene is booming in London and we’re getting through to the second or third phase and looking for new ideas of what a bar could be. These guys are serving drinks and quality food in a really casual environment which I also feel much more conformable in.
The name Victory Mansion actually comes from the George Orwell book 1984 – It’s the building that the protagonist Winston Smith lives in. Literature is used for inspiration for many of their cocktails and the team is all very much into that ear of dystopian writing. It also complements the fit out as well.
The cocktail team is headed up by Steve Inks who has worked at a number of reputed watering holes around London while starting off his career in Perth, Western Australia. He’s just made the jump from Hawksmoor Spitalfields – so you know his concoctions are going to be on point!
The cocktail list is broken down into Beatniks, Gonzo and True Confessions helps to break the drinks into easy to read sections that range from interesting and experimental drinks through to more bubbly ones. They keep things relatively simple and yet creative.
Sam – one of the partners in the bar – is the head chef and has come over from working with Ottolenghi (to name drop one of the places he’s worked), most recently he had been found at Culpepper.
Much of the food is British inspired but Sam’s been allowed to get his eclectic side out to great effect. The menu changes very very frequently as Sam has suddenly found he is the king of his castle and can flex his culinary muscles as and how he sees fit. Being in Stokey, there’s an abundance of fresh food markets to take advantage of so inspiration comes from everywhere. There’s no escape from the sharing plate concept but I prefer it to big single plates so there’s no downside dining here. They currently offer 5 dishes for £25 for a mid week snack for couples and friends meeting up ensuring they keep things affordable and custom rolling throughout the day/week.
Though with all dishes around the £6-7 mark you are getting some excellent value for money. We chewed through a few dishes and let me tell you – haul ass. You don’t want to miss this boat.
Impressive would be an understatement. Because this could/proably will end up as one of the Best Dishes of 2016. The mix of braised & charred leeks, agave & chilli yoghurt, crispy quinoa (£6) may not sound earth shattering – but like Kricket’s Bhel Puri – this one will creep up on you and keep you thinking of the relatively simple genius that makes this dish shine.
Slow braised octopus is amazing tender and served with segments of orange, fennel, candied garlic (£6).
We finished up with pan seared lamb chops, rosemary, anchovy & treacle (£9). And yes – it’s a ballsy chef who’s willing to start paring those flavours together. But this then sets it above the usual lamb chops you find in London which I appreciate them doing.
You need to get yourself over to their website to check out their brunches, Sunday lunch residences and monthly Monday shindigs. I know I’m planning my immanent return in the very near future.