Hidden Culinary Gem: The Lacy Nook

Written by: Sophie Taylor

We have been wondering whether or not to share this secret gem with you for a while now.

What if everyone starts going and we can’t just rock up expecting a window seat anymore? What if the secret beer garden gets full up and we can’t sit down for fear of squashing someone’s pug or bumping into Bill from accounts? Or what if our ex starts going and we have to hide behind extra large Negronis?

But then we thought, you’re worth it. Your happiness and gastric satisfaction is more important than our hatred of society. Plus extra large Negronis aren’t that bad. So here goes. Here’s a recommendation you can thank us for in some way soon. Mine’s a Strawberry Collins.

North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden
We took it easy and only ordered four dishes.

Having walked past Cazenove Road on many a drunken occasion, we’d spotted The Lacy Nook A Board luring us inwards with a siren’s call of cocktails and beer garden. But we’d always get the timing all wrong and they’d rarely be open. “Closed at 4am! How ludicrous?” we’d bellow, slurring and swaying up the road. Until now.

Opening last year, The Lacy Nook is a collaboration between two friends, Elena and Jana, who turned to Kickstarter to help them achieve this foodie haven. Think small and large plates of fusion Balkan BBQ, salads and carpaccio alongside a menu of mouthwatering cocktails.

Taking a seat by the window, we’re greeted with a winning smile from Jana gently brandishing a notepad. Apparently she was just listing the menu, but I still believe she was suggesting we ordered all twelve dishes. Regardless, we took it easy and only ordered four.

North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden

Meanwhile along came a bread basket that floated in straight from Macedonian heaven. It’s actually all fresh rolls from local Dalston Bakery, The Dusty Knuckle: delivered warm, crusty and aching for Elena’s spicy ajvar dip. This dip is a Serbian roasted red pepper and aubergine sauce that’s somewhere between salsa and humous with a chilli kick.

“You just open roast some peppers on a wood plate and then stew them, crushed, you know for seven hours or so…” Jana gesticulates nonchalantly, like we’re going to go straight home and start slicing up some red bell peppers.

We are generously gifted another pot of ajvar after we polish off the first, this time twice the size and raring to spread all over our sourdough. A complementary dish full of Kajmak arrives too: pure, fatty unhomogenized Balkan cream cheese ripe for the spreading.

North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden
First we sampled the well loved beef cevapi

Sipping the last of my white peach Margherita, personally recommended by the hilarious and charming Joana, our dishes begin to arrive. There is hardly enough room for all four on our pretty round table, but do not be discouraged that our pretty round stomachs endured the same fate. We devoured every morsel with vigour, savouring the fusion flavours we’d never tried before. Both a fan of umami tastes, the mixture of Balkan meaty grills with Tom’s Asian limes and miso sprinklings made for two happy palettes.

First we sampled the well loved beef cevapi – mini grilled beef patties from the Balkan which lie somewhere between a sausage and a beef burger so appetising, you’ll wish they were at every BBQ you attend forever more.

North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden

Charred cauliflower waited patiently to be demolished, topped with  kidney bean hummus, pistachio, pomegranate and sumac sprinklings. Our third dish was the beautifully succulent, harissa spiced chicken with date jam, salsa and chickpea mayonnaise to be soaked up, sponge like, by the traditional Balkan breads. Next up was the perfectly roasted aubergine whose jalapeño sauce with miso and tahini yoghurt I am currently attempting to perfect/steal and failing miserably.

I lie awake at night thinking of what might have been with the baked plantain.

Dessert was sprung upon us, with gusto and a back story: beautiful raspberry Baklava made to Elena’s grandma’s original recipe. “She will be spinning in her grave to think of Elena making this” Jana laughs and we wonder if she means with happiness. 

North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden

For what arrived from the kitchen below, beautifully plated and hoisted upwards in the dumb waiter, was delightful. This is no dried up crispy sweet you find at the corner shop next to the cereal bars.

This is layers of saturated raspberry coulis, thick buttered pastry and pistachio crumbles garnished with pretty, edible flowers. It’s moist and rich, not too sickly and doesn’t make me want to down a pint of water afterwards.

Peeling ourselves away from The Lacy Nook was a bitter sweet farewell. For although we were blissfully happy with our choices, I lie awake at night thinking of what might have been with the baked plantain.

It comes with feta, jalapeño sauce and sweet onion tomato salsa and oh the thought of it is making me cry into my lunch box. Plus The Lacy Nook are changing up their menus soon so I might never get to try the baked plantain in all it’s salivating glory. 

North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden

But the real edible flowery garnish on the top of this Balkan cake? Despite it’s pretty facades, beautiful food and plethora of lace, The Lacy Nook is dog friendly. It’s also open on Sundays with a slightly different menu if you fancy more of a fusion Balkan BBQ than a heavy old roast from the pub as per.

Look out for our interview with owners and best friends, Elena and Jana in our upcoming print edition coming out soon, and learn all about the naughty history of The Lacy Nook building.

The Lacy Nook

8 Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, N16 6BD

Photos by Stylonylon

Bahn Mi Baguette at Pho Hot Vietnamese restaurant in Holloway North London shot for North Four Magazine.
Eat & Drink

Banh Mi and Friends at Pho Hot Holloway

Flocking to Holloway Road on one of the many Sundays that we’ve spent at the Nag’s Head Car Boot Sale, we spotted a new Vietnamese place called Pho Hot getting ready to open up their doors. Being the nosy folks we are, we peeked inside and spotted a menu. Banh Mi was on it. It's a baguette, but not as you know it. Glory of all glories! It’s been far too long since I last consumed this distinctive sarnie and I'm happy as Larry that there's a new Banh Mi joint on my doorstep.

Lee Garrett standing on stairs with window in background for North Four Magazine

Top 4 Tips to Protect Your Skin From London Winter!

Baby, it’s getting cold outside, and what better way to aide our frostbitten noses than a chat to a professional skin person? We’re talking to Lee Garrett, founder of The Garrett Clinic, accomplished skincare specialist and heralded by many as the UK’s leading Skin Guru. Read on to find out his insider tips for surviving this winter season with your skin looking as radiant as the moon that breaks a stormy night.

Illustration of tank with duck in it reading 'peace is coming' at Atom Gallery for North Four Magazine

Tomorrow's World at Atom Gallery

Joined by over 50 other artists incorporating printmaking, painting, digital art, photography and small-scale sculpture, Tomorrow’s World presents us with utopias, dystopias, predictions, prophecies and visions of the future. We hit up the private view last Friday and it was pretty damn bleak, in the best sense of the word.

Brave Sir Robin Opening 14th December 2017
Eat & Drink

Local Thinking, Craft Beer Drinking: Brave Sir Robin Launches in Crouch Hill

Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.

Back of persons head with cigarette tucked over ear

Body Hammer: Clubbing, but not how you know it

Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon

Close up of person shoving a stuffed potato skin into her mount at Skins in The Magic Roundabout for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Go Your Own Way at Skins' Fleetwood Mac & Cheese Night

Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.

Christmas Gift Guide by Pretty Shiny Shop in Stroud Green North London
Lifestyle List

A Very Pretty Shiny Christmas Gift Guide

Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.

Three people clinking plastic glasses in the air in a tent with people in the background at Thor's Tipi Bar in Regent's Place
Eat & Drink Events

Drink, Feast, Conquer, Repeat. Thor's Tipi Bar Has Arrived.

Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.

Girl peeking through gold and pink balloons at Top Balloon in Shop Stroud Green for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Shop Stroud Green Christmas Trail 2017

Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!

Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle List

Top 4 'Christmas is just a bad excuse for a' Winter Markets

By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.

The Vinteriors team and Mary le Comte at Moseyhome in Finsbury Park, North London for 'Style My Shop'.

Style My Shop: Vinterior x Moseyhome

Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.

Eat & Drink Events List

Top Five "It's That Time Of Year Again" Things To Do This Winter

Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!

Hand feeling colourful splashes of artwork at Smith and Sinclair Flavour Gallery
Culture Eat & Drink Events

Suck it at The Flavour Gallery

Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!

Hodgepodge on Crouch Hill, North London. New restaurant opening November 2017
Eat & Drink

New Opening: Hodgepodge Crouch Hill

Offering modern British cuisine with a smokey twist, Crouch Hill's newest contender to its foodie scene, Hodge Podge, is all minimal styling and hearty yet inventive dishes.

Cartoon of vampires standing in tunnel for London Horror Festival
Events List

Top 4 ‘Eat, drink and be scary’ All Hallows haunts

Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.