The Big Review: Dach & Sons, Hampstead

If Kentish Town is Kylie, and Tufnell Park Dannii, then Hampstead is grand old dame Liza Minelli: absolutely loaded, seen …

If Kentish Town is Kylie, and Tufnell Park Dannii, then Hampstead is grand old dame Liza Minelli: absolutely loaded, seen better days, a bit nuts.

And yet we were curious the minute we heard the words speakeasy and NW3 in the same sentence. Was the Hampstead of the roaring Twenties – the kind Sally Bowles might have experienced, had she popped over from Berlin – about to make a come-back? Because, it’s fair to say, north London’s once-bohemian Queen has taken a knock or two over the years, and that was before the recession hit Heath Street worse than many other attractive thoroughfares in north London.

So Dach & Sons is an interesting prospect. The company behind it – Fluid Movement – have impeccable credentials (Marylebone’s Purl and the Whistling Shop in Old Street) and their choice of location is a brave one, if only because there’s no cocktail scene at all. But that’s covered by the ground floor being an upmarket fast food joint: dogs, burgers, whisky, craft beers. It’s stylish, cheapish, accessible to everyone.

And you can’t fault the rough-luxe interior, from winking neon signs and wooden sharing tables to ‘whisky library’ and obligatory industrial lighting. It’s all tiling, unfinished walls, textural juxtaposition. Yes it’s been done a million times, but we’re still not tired of the stripped-back aesthetic (yet). Where will interiors go next though?

Upstairs is the speakeasy, a micro-version of Purl, their more glamorous W1 sister bar. Heavy velvet curtains cut out daylight, candles flicker, there’s the promise of ‘forgotten classics’, period jazz, and their own take on a gin-less Negroni (an Americano, right?) Outside is a terrace with jaw-dropping views over the city and across the cute rooftops of Hampstead. Sally Bowles would collapse at the wonder of it all, really she would.

Service is relaxed but friendly, prices perfect for a midweek treat. All mains are £8. Sides are £4. Craft beers are sold by the 2/3 pint (around £3). After a taster of more-ish ‘bone marrow’ popcorn, we were slightly disappointed the signature ‘Dachsund’ dog (frankfurter + sauerkraut) had sold out so we opted for the ‘banger’: coarse pork shoulder with onion and mushroom ketchup.

Sous vide and flash fry techniques ensure maximum juiciness and it showed in a full-flavoured, tender sausage. Chips were perfectly crisp, served in a drainer, and the slaw creamily calorific – but without much seasoning or the hit of horseradish promised on the menu.

The sliders were less successful: of our trio of bacon with jam/lettuce, smoked flexi-cheddar and dill, and salt beef with chilli/soured cream, only the latter had the juicy more-ishness essential in these burger-rich times. But aren’t sliders generally disappointing, even at the likes of Spuntino? Always too high a bun-to-meat ratio.

So it’s early days – the requisite ‘soft launch’ – but even on its second Monday was packed with upmarket NW3 dwellers. We’ll definitely return to see how things shape up: and as for working our way through a julep or two in the speakeasy, just try holding us back.

And, finally, if the best ideas are those that in retrospect seem obvious, we know a little boarded-up joint in K-Town that the boys might consider for their next project.

This is box title
Dach & Sons, 68 Heath Street. A main and side combo is £11.50.
Kentishtowner Rating: Food 7 (Vibes 9)
Words: Stephen Emms


  • Show Comments

  • Jon Simmons

    Going to give this place a try tomorrow night I think.

    • Kentishtowner

      Go early as you can’t book. It was heaving even on Monday.

  • Beau

    I think a new illustrated map of North London is in order, with each community represented by its most representative washed up/C-list sublebrity.

    • Kentishtowner

      Oh wow. Great idea. If someone wants to do that for us we’ll publish it quicker than you can say Englebert Humperdinck.

  • Lucy Bridgers

    Sorry Stephen – getting a bit fed up with the Dannii comparison up here in TP!

    • Kentishtowner

      Don’t be fed up Lucy. Dannii has great skin and a winning smile. And who can forget ‘Put the needle on it’?

      • Lucy Bridgers

        I’ll have to refresh my memory… ; )

      • Soho Hip

        Or the classic Who Do You Love Now

  • Jon Simmons

    Ha, I like that idea. On that note I saw Gary Lucy outside Sainsbury’s on KT Road recently and also Rick Edwards of T4 and Guardian fame by E.Mono.

  • Amanda Gallant

    We so enjoyed our visit last Friday! But I found Purl pretty intimidating.

    • Kentishtowner

      We found them pretty hostile at Purl when we swung by without a booking – so we haven’t been back.

      • Amanda Gallant

        Exactly. After the amazingly cool and friendly staff downstairs, it was pretty icy upstairs. I don’t know if I’ll go back to Purl for seconds.

        • Kentishtowner

          Hang on. Which Purl are you talking about? We mean the Marylebone one – the staff in Hampstead were super friendly, we thought.

          • athegallant

            I’m talking about Hampstead Purl ! Crossed wires. Maybe we hit it on an off-night.

  • Jon Simmons

    Purl messed up my booking for the gf’s birthday a while back and wouldnt let us in. They didn’t even apologise so I’ve not been back.

  • Jon Simmons

    I’m talking Marylebone.