Crouch End Favourite, Nickel Restaurant
Written by: Anthoula Drummond
Having opened a mere 7 months ago, Nickel has already become a firm favourite for Crouch Enders. Indeed as I walked in, at 6.50pm on a Wednesday night, the bar was already full. Nickel is small, seating just 25. But believe me when I say, this gem of an eatery is well worth cosying up for.
Set up by four friends, who have all worked in the industry for many years, this is a true labour of love. All four live locally and could see what Crouch End was missing. They wanted to open a place that would allow them to create delicious fare in a setting that they themselves would go to. The décor has a vintage feel, pepped up by scattered modern, industrial twists. The foursome have chosen everything, from the tile design to the mirrors on the wall; even building the bar with their bare hands.
Serving small plates, nibbles and cocktails, alongside a carefully chosen wine list and beer selection, it’s clear to see that the focus is on quality. The house spirits are all from East London Liquor Co and Borough Wines work with them to produce their wine list. The cheese is brought in from La Fromagerie, and the Oysters are Cornwall’s finest. Food is sourced as locally as possible, but quality is always the tipping point, and you can’t get finer than a Cornish Oyster.
What goes on in that kitchen is pure magic. With one hob and one small oven, the chefs work absolute wonders in a tiny space. Chef Michael Spurgeon (brought in from popular local restaurant, Season – Stroud Green and the award winning organic pub: The Duke of Cambridge) creates delicious nibbles and small plates for sharing that change every month.
Although there are the staples that are now kept on continuously, following furore from patrons after their removal. The ‘Burrata with Honey Roasted Plums and Walnuts’ is sensational. Only in Italy have I had burrata so creamy.
With a molten centre that oozes over the plate, cutting through the sweet honey roasted fruit. The plums a simple, yet clever twist on this dish during the winter, as in the summer these are replaced with nectarines.
However the stand out dish for me was the ‘Goats Cheese on toast with Honeycomb and Truffle Oil’. Alchemy really is the word for this plate. Soft, tangy goats cheese is smothered, generously I might add, across sourdough toast. Topped with honeycomb. Drizzled in truffle oil. Salty, with a sweet kick and an earthy richness. Don’t share this plate.
Cocktails are fairly priced at £8 each, and although the list is small, it changes every month. The bar is filled to the brim with beautiful bottles, most of which you’ve maybe not seen before but become desperate to try.
The margarita is expertly made by a self confessed ‘non-expert cocktail maker, but professional cocktail drinker’ and is delicious. They take recommendations and requests, so if you don’t see something you like… just ask.
So what’s next for Nickel? Well, cocktail nights for starters, as well as pairing evenings with wine and small plates. And in the distant future, maybe even a second, larger Nickel.
But in the meantime, bring your love or your friend, grab a spot for two in the soft lit bar and while away the hours. Order plate-by-plate, savour each dish and relax in the low-key, atmospheric vibes Nickel always seems to exude. Not just for the yummy mummies of Crouch End, this really is a spot for all to enjoy.
Named after the French word ‘nickel’ (pronounced nick-el). Translation: Spot on. I couldn’t have named it better myself.
Nickel is open Tuesday to Fri, 5pm until 11pm and Saturday from midday to 11:00pm. Open for venue hire on Sundays.
Nickel 143, Crouch Hill N8 9QH Tel: 0208 3402888
Photos by Anthoula Drummond and via Nickel’s Insta
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