Restaurant Review: The Railway Tavern Ale House, N16

Paul Harper tries Thai food at the revamped Railway Tavern in Dalston

My first impression of the Railway Tavern wasn’t quite what I expected. The pub, next to Dalston Kingsland Station, did not lack character, or a saloon entrance for that matter! But it did not appear to be the gastro venue offering a Thai food menu set for a review. It emerged the correct Railway Tavern, which recently changed back to its original name under new ownership, was around the corner in St Jude Street.

Thankfully any unrest caused by the confusion - or navigating the bustling high street of eclectic Dalston on a Saturday afternoon - soon eased as we walked through the doors of the Railway Tavern. Light and cosy, the pub has an ambience which sparked a perfectly timed sigh of contentment.

The new owners Kirk McGrath and Paul Davies, behind the successful Pineapple pub in Kentish Town, have artistically revamped the boozer which was known as Old Henry’s Freehouse. Curtains have gone to let the light shine in, a new off-colour white and burgundy paint has been added, there’s an inviting fireplace corner, vintage film posters adorn the wall and homage is paid to the local railway history.

Real ales are central to the regeneration and the constantly rotating options include offerings from popular producers Brewdog and Dark Star and top London-based micro-breweries such as Redemption. A honey-tinged Truman’s Beer proved our favourite.

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We started with an appettising mixed platter which featured dim sum, prawn toast and pastry and springs rolls, before our eyes gravitated to the special options. I plumped for the massaman lamb mix of coconut milk with chopped onions and potatoes which was more than filling with the right level of spice. The succulent lamb and coconut sauce was blended superbly. My friend was delighted with her king prawn pla-nang which had a distinctive kick with its cassir, chilli and lime leaves. The mains are value for money.

The Railway Tavern was a relaxed, unpretentious stop on the journey. And if you’re not sure which one you are in, look for the big Railway Tavern marking etched into its wall. Doh!

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The Railway Tavern Ale House

2 St Jude Street N16

020 0011 1195

Mains: from �5

Wines: from �14

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: Yes

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