For almost two decades The Dove in Broadway Market has been acclaimed for quality and integrity in food and drink offering, a part of the remarkable emergence of the market and Hackney. With continuingly near-restless energy, the pub is still a thriving factor of the community, fostering appreciation and understanding of world beers and increasingly concentrating on organic foods.
People flock to Broadway Market for its idiosyncratic market stalls, quirky dress shops and indie music outlets, happily intermingled with East End heritage from the likes of a pie and mash café, for example. Such savant shoppers seek a suitable watering and dining hole and The Dove has adapted itself since the 1990s to meet their needs and those of the new Hackney hipster crowd.
The Dove has a rustic Arts and Crafts style that reflects Broadway Market’s one-time role as a rural livestock exchange. It’s an oblong corner building with a brick lower storey and white rendered upper storey, topped by a sloping gable roof. Distinctive white lettering on blue ceramic tiles is a feature of the lower storey and outside picnic tables add to this bucolic style. Internally, it’s fifty shades of brown with wooden panelling, benches, chairs, tables and partitions reinforcing the Arts and Crafts devotion to the traditional. The long bar provides easy access and there are discrete dining areas at the back and side. These are decorated with oriental prints, complementing Eastern influences found on the menu.
Not only is there an influx of market visitors, but the Dove also attracts walkers who are following nearby Regent’s Canal and seek a refreshment stop. Nonetheless, it has proudly maintained its role as a Hackney local. Years ago it appealed to the large student population and, interestingly, some of these have remained as customers – firstly as twenty-something singletons and now as couples with children. Hipsters don’t dominate - there have always been core customer loyalists from the working folk long-settled in Hackney and these greatly appreciate the improvements to the pub. Further testimony to local links is the strong support The Dove gives to nearby St Joseph’s Hospice – fund-raising on its behalf is always ongoing.
There’s no TV or jukebox, but the exceptional supply of board games – such as chess, backgammon and Monopoly – enables customers to indulge in entertainment. In addition, there are sketchpads and pencils to keep kiddies occupied - their cheerful gurgles add to the prevailing hum of pub geniality. Such geniality is facilitated by a young staff, ably inspired by long-serving and knowledgeable manager, Paul. The Dove constantly engages its customers in beer appreciation and enjoyment, too. Tasting evenings are held with representatives of notable Belgian brewers as well as London brewing specialists.
The Dove has always been committed to food that is good, clean and fair. Broadway Market supplies fruit and vegetables from family farms, and fish comes from Billingsgate dealers. Most commendably, moreover, its meat is primarily from farms that have won awards for their animal husbandry. Beef is from Leigh Farm in Devon and pork from Downland Farm in Wiltshire - guaranteed no horse!
Cooking is the responsibility of a full kitchen brigade, with three fulltime qualified chefs. They ensure the Menu is regularly updated to take account of the seasons. From midday to 10pm, classic Belgian beer-based dishes feature, such as moules frites, stewed boeuf carbonnade, beer battered cod and waterzooi van vis, a mixed fish stew that’s an Antwerp delicacy. Leigh Farm-supplied sirloin steak is a big seller and the vegetarian options include mushroom, spinach and ricotta pasta. Hugely favoured are pub-prepared burgers and sausages, with burgers even featuring North American bison and sausages made from South African kudu. In the evening, Thai specialities become available. Desserts include Belgian waffles and Belgian chocolate fondue cake to complement the Belgian mains. Given the activity of Broadway Market, a brunch menu is provided from midday to 5pm. Featured are a mighty breakfast bap of pork patty, egg, mushroom and tomato, eggs benedict, a BLT and a choice of different Phad Thais.
The Dove has championed real ale since its inception and so successfully that two handpumps have now become six. Three house beers are Crouch Vale Brewer’s Gold, Timothy Taylor Landlord, and, a recent choice, East London Brewing’s IPA – produced only three miles away, its crisp and hoppy character is much appreciated. Among a constant variety of other ales are Cotleigh Tawney, Fat Cat Honey Ale, and Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted. There’s invariably a dark beer on offer such as Mighty Oak’s Oscar Wilde or AllGates Double Espresso Stout. So well is the beer kept and served that the pub annually appears in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide.
Like its sister pub, the Dovetail in Clerkenwell, The Dove is renowned for its massive expertise in Belgian beer. There are beers on draught such as Hoegaarden and Jupiler and literally dozens of bottles are stocked – including Abbey and Trappist, witbeer, Gueuze and red ales. Building on this deserved reputation, The Dove is now promoting an enhanced range of world beers and new lines to be introduced will be from France and Italy, which are both undergoing a craft beer explosion. And British beers are not neglected – there are award-winning bottle-conditioned beers from St Austell, Bath Ales and St Peter’s of Suffolk.
Ciders now sell very well and Thatcher’s provide a draught gold as well as draught perry. Artisan-produced bottles include ones from Goddard’s and Gwynt Y Ddraig. Wines flow freely and by the glass especially. House wines are Chilean – Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot - and others favoured are a Chablis from Burgundy, and an Argentinian Malbec and French Pinot Noir among the reds. There’s the expected full range of spirits and liqueurs but, continuing the Belgian connection, there is a unique selection of 20% ABV flavoured Jenevers (grain gin) including chocolate, coffee, hazelnut, passion fruit and lemon. The producer, Braeckman, is one of a few based in the Hasselt area of Flanders.
The Last Word
“Don’t change a winning formula,” is a well-regarded maxim. But The Dove proves that a winning formula can be improved upon by constantly innovating. So stroll along Regent’s Canal and experience the vibrancy and vitality of Broadway Market. Complete the fun by calling into The Dove for exceptional food and drink.