The Cornwall Project x The Dissenting Academy


At the moment it is zeitgeisty-to-the-max to entitle a new restaurant using the historical context of the area. And this shiny, ridiculously-named gaff is no exception, coined after the religious-freethinking colleges that peppered Newington Green in the 17th century.

You wouldn't believe the quiet, gentrified middle-class oasis bordering Dalston, Islington and Stoke Newington would have been so contrary back in the day would you?

This modernist boudoir is more likely to be populated by polite, craft beer supping higher-rate taxpayers than radical firebrands now. Familiar chunky wooden tables and chesterfields populate the wooden floors, while the walls practically bleed trendy counter culture - with a huge portrait of Bill Hicks, an assemblage of marble-effect doors, and illustrated murals all over the place.

It is the quintessential public school sixth form common room, but designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. No doubt a trendiness level way outside our happy place.

L-L-B woz 'ere.

L-L-B woz 'ere.

Continuing along the current, owners InnBrighton Ltd are fully embracing the street food/pop-up/residency movement in their London pubs: their Battersea location is currently hosting Death By Burrito and their Angel boozer houses patty pushers Tongue 'N Cheek. It is the Cornwall Project, whose goal it is to source as many of their ingredients as possible from Cornish vendors, who inhabit Dissenting Academy's kitchen right now.

True to the remit, the Project's menu is fraught with fish from St. Ives, mussels from the River Fowey, and other stuff from parts of pasty country.

And the components of the burger are no different.

The thick Bodmin Moor beef arrived expertly concealed by shed loads of dripping, softened Cornish Gouda encased in a thickly glazed glossy bun which was nicely toasted and fluffy, an above average example of the now common-or-garden brioche.

The delicately pink, soft insides of the patty had good flavour with a competently browned and seasoned edge. But the taste turf war was on top of the beef. The wrapper of gouda was surprisingly mature, with a strong, Ogleshield-like tang on the tongue. And the beets that nestled next to it were crunchy and fragrantly pungent, a fresh pickly hit that teased sweet at the end.

Together the three produced an ample level of juiciness, which was no doubt aided by the 'Hay'onaise sauce, even if it didn't announce itself in the mouthful. The lengthy shards of rocket added a peppery crispness, but could have done without the thick stalks which were annoying.

The combination is original yet familiar, and the ploy to almost deliberately omit the sweetness that a lot of other burgers add, via condiments or cooked onions, to diffuse the mature complex cheese and bold pickle is novel. It is a worthy attempt. The two flavours together are fierce adversaries, but connect to suppress the meat. You can't help but taste a slight sourness that a sweeter sauce could have countered.

So, The Cornwall Project is only in residence until Sunday 30th March. We know, "thanks for only fucking telling us NOW".

But fear not, gun-jumpers: while The Project buggers off to somewhere South of the River that we will never visit, the kitchen is being taken over by 'London Mess', or Jim Thomlinson (one half of The Cornwall Project chef team), who has stated that a lot of the grub they currently churn out will remain the same, including the burgers.

So you can still go and get one at your leisure. Happy?

  • Rob.