The Duke of Hamilton in Hampstead: Pub favourites paired with jazz and classic British charm
The Duke of Hamilton has reopened its doors after a full refurbishment. The iconic Hampstead pub welcomed customers for the first time in the early 1700s and it still retains the classic British charm it once had. With very distinctive Victorian decor, the space was purpose-built for pints and early dinners with friends. The location sums up this feeling of intimacy and exclusivity, the pub being more of a local joint for those working or living around the area. This great vibe is only improved by the Hampstead Jazz Club built below the dining area. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy this side of the venue since there wasn’t a show on the night we visited, however any lover of casual live performances should keep an eye on the “what’s on” section of their website.
But now into the important part, the dining experience. We were pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of drinks on the menu, more fitting for a gastropub than a regular one. If you feel like popping along one of these days, you’ll be able to find anything – from artisan ales to mainstream beer, to a good range of wine and house gins. The food offerings are split into snacks, small plates, sandwiches, mains, sides and desserts.
We had the opportunity to try a bit of everything, including the Duke Cheeseburger and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart, highly recommended by the service. Starting the evening off with a Shapeshifter IPA and a Camden Pale, we were ready to sample a bite or two from the small plates. The mozzarella and anchovies on toast was the perfect starter for those craving a more Mediterranean taste. The mix of the fish with the cheese and a creamy tomato-infused sauce makes for a fresh and light snack to share. As part of the entrées, we ordered a serving of the crispy squid with Sriracha mayo. Not the freshest of produce, but the pan-frying gives the dish really nice crispiness and flavour – especially if you combine it with a nice beer.
The Duke Cheeseburger and the Risotto with Wild Mushrooms were our mains for the evening. We must praise the cook for achieving a medium-to-well-done burger, as we requested it. A nice beef pattie delivered the right amount of juiciness and simplicity characteristic of your classic cheeseburger, topped up with some caramelised onions between two grilled buns, with a side of crispy skinny fries. Although we were not big fans of the risotto – probably not a go-to option for anyone visiting a pub – we admired the quality of the ingredients involved, especially the wild mushrooms. However, the consistency of the dish was definitely too runny for it to be considered a proper risotto. We had all this with a side of (some more) skinny fries and grilled vegetables.
Lastly – though for some, most importantly – came the desserts. Having a particularly sweet tooth, we opted for the Salted Caramel Brownie and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart. The latter could be described as a delightful (and vegan!) fudge in which peanut butter and chocolate are perfectly blended together, with some touches of raspberry sauce. The brownie was up to the standard too, melty in the inside with a salted caramel sauce that enhanced the strong chocolate taste.
With a wide range of drinks and hearty classics, The Duke of Hamilton is a great stop for anyone craving a great pub atmosphere in Hampstead – and some jazz.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at The Duke of Hamilton, 23-25 New End London NW3 1JD, call 020 7794 2068 or visit their website here.