The Islington Townhouse 1

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Recycled farmyard objects, such as wooden hoe handles that double as hand-pulls, reference this newly renovated pub’s past as The Agricultural Hotel: an establishment that once catered to those attending livestock fairs nearby. In meaty homage, Suffolk charcuterie, steak tartare, venison kebab and dry-aged heritage-breed burger appear on a menu that also offers tapas-sized aubergine tapenade, Gruyère soufflé or octopus carpaccio, with plum and marshmallow crumble to follow. Food is served in the main bar or upstairs dining room. Select from over 20 wines by the glass on a list that contains light, lively Henry Fessy Beaujolais Villages. Drinkers in the narrow, busy, somewhat overdressed ground-floor bar (owners Hippo Inns aren’t exactly known for minimalist decor) focus on a beer wall whose London temptations might include Bermondsey brewer Fourpure’s American-inspired Beartooth Brown. A dozen or so keg and cask ales and ciders, cocktails and a ‘secret snug’ complete the story.

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