Fresh Comfort Food: Walnut Cafe and Dining
Written by: Sophie Taylor
Strolling past the empty corner premises of the John Jones’ The Arts Building, we’d started to wonder if it would remain deserted for the rest of all time. Like the insides of my fridge’s vegetable tray.
Luckily for us however, Finsbury Park dweller Emma also took the same path via the vacant premises.
One day it caught her eye. “What do you think’s going on here then?” she asked Sid, peering through the window and leaving a nose smear on the glass.
Sid the bulldog raised an eyebrow and, after an extensive and knowing exchange of expressions, they agreed to enquire about the space.
Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike.
Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.
Emma is excited to be a part of the John Jones building, a six storey hub of creativity and culture that reflects the ever evolving nature of it’s surrounds. The founder himself began life as a framer to the art world bigwigs (think Francis Bacon and Hockney).
But now to the important stuff: the menu.
Whether you’re after a salad lunch or filling protein-dense dinner, to eat in or take away, you’ll get a lipsmackingly healthy feed.
At the launch party this week, we tried the tangy tomato bruschetta and mmm-so-crispy sausage rolls, lovingly proffered with huge, beaming smiles.
The crew at Walnut are a genuinely happy bunch, eager to make you just as smiley after you visit.
We’d wholeheartedly recommend the white port and tonic with fresh mint and lemon as your new Summer tipple – just what was needed on a humid May eve.
With a strong emphasis on locally sourced sustainable produce, Emma’s menu supports local business and independent trade as much as possible. You can expect a stuffed counter replete with an evolving array of salad dishes, savoury tarts and fish.
If you’re feeling peckish, you can get three salad options with a tart for a tenner (hush, vicar) or one of their epic hot sandwiches for £4.50 if you’re more of a carb appreciation society member.
Walnut Cafe and Dining open from 7:30am which means they do my favourite meal of the day: breakfast. I seemed to spy some pretty life affirming eggs float past the window once, which we sampled the heck out of this morning.
Plumping for fresh, rich poached eggs, we delighted in yolks of a gloriously deep orange and butter spread with abandon over crispy sourdough. No, I’m not watching my cholesterol thanks for asking.
Emma enjoys the more classic recipes and puts people over anything else. She is a truly warm and welcoming host with the most.
We couldn’t be happier with the new owners of the once sad and lonely corner space, now an inviting source of healthy comfort food.
If you can’t get there ASAP, have a scroll through their Twitter feed and see the culinary journey they’ve been on to get here.
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