Decatur at Pamela

Restaurants, Creole Kingsland
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
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New Orleans-inspired cooking at a hip Haggerston bar.

Please note, Decatur has now finished its residency at Pamela. Follow them on Twitter to see where they're next popping up. Time Out Food & Drink Editors, January 2017.

First things first: who’s who and what’s what. Pamela is the bar. If you’re thinking: Hey, that’s a pretty dandy name for a bar, just wait until you see the wall. Yup, that’ll be a line-up of famous Pams there: a big poster of ’70s actress Pam Grier, a lot of Pamela Andersons. Think 14-year-old boy’s bedroom circa 1992. This space is from the crew behind Dalston hangouts Birthdays and The Alibi; they’ve always had a sense of humour. When I email to book, someone actually signs off my confirmation with ‘Pammy xx’ (kiss kiss). As for Decatur, it was initially a temporary residency, bringing a taste of New Orleans to Pammy’s drinkers, but it was such a get-out-your-jazz-hands-success that it’s sticking around.

The best of the menu – hardly surprising when you consider it was originally designed as bar food – is anything small or snacky. So instead of saving yourself for comfort food mains, be sure to go large – mammoth, please – on the little plates. Like the baked oysters. If you’re the sort of person that thinks that oysters taste like a) the sea when you think you might be drowning, b) the inside of a can (metallic, minerally), or c) a giant bogey, then try having them baked. Specifically, Decatur-baked. These moist, juicy bivalves come with a cheesy, salty, fiery topping (butter, pecorino, garlic, hot sauce) and are dangerously addictive. Order as many as you can afford. Then there’s the ‘beer cheese’. A Brit twist on a New Orleans staple, this doesn’t look like much: a firm orange paste in nuclear-fallout orange. But applied thickly over buttered, grilled sourdough (they also give you a raw garlic clove for rubbing), you get all the flavour of cooked-down extra mature cheddar, pilsner, Cajun spices, mustard and a splash of vinegar. On the side? Pink pickled radishes, a trio of Ritz crackers. Of course. Finally, barbecue shrimp. A neat row of juicy shell-on tiger prawns, slathered in a sauce that’s sweet, tangy, fiery and buttery.

For what’s essentially a small, dark bar, with only a handful of tables (plus a few outside), this joint punches well above its weight. Cocktails are enticing and original (it’s the kind of place where the gin comes beetroot-infused; the Short Ireland Iced Tea is made with London-distilled Bán Poitín) and the staff hugely welcoming (even if they did get slower and slower as the night advanced). Hey, Pammy, thanks for having Decatur to stay. Kiss kiss.

By: Tania Ballantine

Posted:

Venue name: Decatur at Pamela
Contact:
Address: 428 Kingsland Rd
London
E8 4AA
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3.7 / 5

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kayleighar
tastemaker

From the guys behind trendy Dalston hangouts Birthdays and The Alibi comes Pamela, a little inconspicuous bar on Kingsland Road. The interior is small, minimal and intimate, with pictures of the Pamela Anderson, but what it lacks in size it more than enough makes up for in quality and originality. The cocktail menu is full of wonderfully weird concoctions such as rhubarb, jalapeño and beetroot alcoholic infusions, and the small plate selection by Decatur is incomparable. Each meticulous dish consists of the highest quality of Louisiana tasters, such as New Orleans style oysters, butter chicken, shrimp and beer cheese; it’s a great place for adventurous types or for those who are after something new and different to treat their tastebuds to.

Besides the incredible food and drink, the thing that is a major plus is how attentive and friendly the staff are. They don’t overbearingly encourage you to over order, over eat and over spend like most places and seem to actually care if you’re enjoying everything.

Go and try this great little bar, just keep your peepers peeled as you look for it.

L F

I'm an American in London and this place is worth the trip for the sweet tea and fried chicken alone. I also haven't found a biscuit this good since I moved to the UK! 

R S

I'm a big fan of New Orleans, almost entirely for it's food.   I was super excited to read that there was a New Orleans pop-up on the scene in East London, so we booked ourselves a table for dinner a few fridays ago.  The cocktails from Pamela were terrific, original and delicious.  But the food from Decateur left  a bit to be desired.  The oysters were good, rich and tasty.  But that's where the fun ended.  The chicken wings were almost inedible and seemed to crumble to some sort of odd dust in your mouth.  The beer cheese was almost flavourless, which is hard to do with beer + cheese.  If I had to guess, I would guess that both had been frozen and defrosted, or something else.  It wasn't good. The good times were not rolling...