Restaurant review: The Dissenting Academy, N1

The Dissenting Academy is a pub that luxuriates in Newington Green’s bohemian past, a fact made plain by the portraits that stare down at you from the walls – Bill Hicks and Mary Wollstonecraft among them.

The rest of the decor is bare floorboards, wooden tables and leather chesterfields – all very cosy and much smarter than the pub’s previous incarnations.

There is also a marked difference in the cuisine; the Clarendon, as it was formerly known, had Thai chefs, but now the focus is very much British pub grub.

The menu is small, augmented by specials, and full of hearty looking tempters.

After a pint of a very quaffable dark Czech lager, I tucked into a tasty Welsh rarebit with a lovely egg on top. Being the delicate soul she is, my girlfriend chose the goat cheese and walnut salad, which was full of deep, strong flavour.

For the mains, we had a distinctly palatable vegetable lasagne from the specials board and a thoroughly mouth-watering burger, which rates as one of the better ones I’ve had in London.

A huge, seasoned, home-made patty sat atop a soft bun. Smothered in cheese with a cheeky hint of garlic, it was delicious. It had bacon on, not something I would normally choose, but was all part of the fun in this case, as was the pot of tangy cabbage.

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Also available was a vegetarian burger, with a huge portobello mushroom and blue cheese, which smelled so good I considered eschewing the meat version … briefly.

With really friendly service, a good booze selection and plenty of arty events on the cards, this pub adds another cracking local to the Newington Green scene.