Test Driving The Duke of Richmond - Tom Oldroyd becomes a publican

crabbuttyThe amazing crab and chips butty

What can you tell us about The Duke Of Richmond

It's the second venture from Tom Oldroyd after the success of the eponymous Oldroyd on Islington's Upper Street. Thie time, he's entering the pub game, opening the Duke of Richmond In Dalston.

Where is it?

If you were familiar with the place in its previous incarnation as The Richmond - it's there. If you're not, it's about a 5-10 minute walk from Dalston Junction station. 

Where should we meet for a drink first?

We'll assume you're coming from Kingsland Road - in which case you have lots of options from there. This time, we had a quick pre-dinner wine at Sapling (you have to snack on something there too - so the smoked garlic gougeres are the obvious choice). Alternatively, two of our favourite bars in town are also on the road - both Untitled and Three Sheets are well worth a look. 

volLamb sweetbread vol au vent, peas and almond veloute

But The Duke of Richmond is still a pub, yes?

Absolutely - so the real answer to where you should meet for a drink is right there in the pub. Almost half of the area - and the outside terrace - is dedicated to the pub, with a separate section for the restaurant. More so than its previous incarnation, it now really feels like a place where you could just drop in for a drink. So yes, if you're waiting for someone, then just prop up the bar with a pint in hand.

And who's in charge of the kitchen?

While Tom Oldroyd is obviously involved in the menu, the man in charge at the Duke of Richmond is Rory Shannon, previously known for the currently closed Winemakers Deptford, where his cooking earned much praise. Expect a few favourites from there to appear here too. 

quailWhole barbecued quail, grilled lettuce, broad beans and baby leeks

And what about the food served in the two areas - are they different?

There are two menus - the main restaurant and the bar menu. In an ideal world, you'll want to be trying both - or come back for a second visit. But there's one dish on the bar snacks menu that screams out as a must-have - the Cornish crab chip butty.  It is pretty much as you'd expect - crab and chips in a toasted bun that they make in house -  just about the best pub snack you could ever ask for. So if you're in the area passing by, we recommend popping in for a drink and a butty to scope out the place.

There's more to the bar menu, of course. Snacks include crispy pig ears (£3), confit duck leg croquettes (£5) and they'll always have ever-changing pies in the bar hot cupboard. The burger is different in the bar too, where it's served as a "classic cheeseburger", and right now there's a roasted chicken baguette with soubise onions (£9) that sounds the business along with onglet steak and fries for £15. 

And perhaps the best sharing pub snack of them all - a whole baked Tunworth cheese with cornichons and baguette (£24). 

burgerDuke Burger, with Roquefort, confit shallots, bearnaise and fries.

What about the food in the main dining area?

Here, the menu is set out in standard fashion as starter, mains and desserts. We think there's a good mix of elevated pub food with slightly more inventive dishes, ideal for the cross-section of people the pub will be attracting. So there's plenty to choose from - and you can expect this menu to change fairly regularly too. 

During our visit - the standout dishes were:

  • The Cornish crab souffle, with crab bisque and comte brioche bun (£8) - Shannon's cheese souffle at Winemakers was much loved and this is more top-notch souffle action. 
  • The lamb sweetbread vol au vent, peas and almond veloute (£7) - once again our inability to miss out on any sweetbread dish on the menu comes into play here. We know they're not for everyone, but this is a great example, the fresh peas playing well against the sweetbreads for a great summer dish. 
  • The whole barbecued quail, grilled lettuce, broad beans and baby leeks (£15) - smoky piquant quail going beautifully with that grilled lettuce and double podded broad beans.
  • And we had to try the Duke Burger, of course (£15). That came with Roquefort, confit shallots, bearnaise and fries. A very messy burger, but in a good way - and another shout-out to those perfectly cooked fries. 

As mentioned, expect the menu to change regularly, but there will always be a burger, steak and a souffle of some kind on there.

You can also order from either the bar or main menu if you sit out on the terrace.

And if we're a bit on the hungry side (and organised)?

Then you can always pre-order yourself a feast. These need to be ordered in advance and will change from time to time. At the moment, there's a suckling pig for 10 that needs a week's notice, and a cote de boeuf or a whole sea trout that needs 48 hours notice. 

babaRum baba with roasted pineapple, toasted coconut and whipped cream

And dessert?

You can either opt for cheese, served with fennel crackers at £4 a portion or choose the latest on the menu. We had two winning desserts including a rum baba with roasted pineapple, toasted coconut and whipped cream (£6.50) which is, to be fair, going to be the default option for most people. But the ice chocolate parfait, with gariguette strawberries and honeycomb (£6) continued our run of finding particularly good chocolate desserts this year. 

How about drink?

It's a pub, so you can certainly get a good wine here, with plenty from 40 FT brewery on tap. Otherwise, bottles start at £20 or £5 a glass (175ml) and there are plenty of wines available by the carafe too. We were won over by their La Vidaubanaise, Comte de Provence rosé (£7.50 glass /£30 carafe/ £30 bottle). Prices go up to the £75/£80 mark if you're pushing the boat out. 


Tom Oldroyd's original restaurant in Islington was of such consistent quality that hopes were high, and have been met for this new venture. His teaming up with Rory Shannon in the kitchen has only helped to make things even better. We left wishing that this pub was down the end of our road - so if you're in the area, you're very lucky indeed. If you're not - then head there right now for the chip butty and work your way through the rest of the menu. 


More about The Duke of Richmond

Where is it? 316 Queensbridge Road, Hackney, London E8 3NH

Find out more: On their website or follow The Duke of Richmond on Instagram @thedukeofrichmond and on Twitter @dukeofrichmond_. 


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