TOP 4: Cafés in Stoke Newington
Written by: Shanna F. Jones
Cafés. There’s something about them. Patti Smith, legendary rock and roll poet goddess, wrote several books dedicated to the worship of the humble coffee shop. She would drink black coffee with brown toast day in, day out and pen her world famous songs. If large chain coffee houses have you crying into your skinny latte and you’re yearning for interesting, quality food and drink, then this list of the Top 4 Cafés in Stoke Newington (as chosen by locals and then tested by us – it’s a hard life), will have you doing the moonwalk into your nearest independent café…
The sister of this little joint, in the nearby neighbourhood of Crouch End (North London = ballin’), has won awards right up to its ears. When I first walked into their Stokey branch, I was reminded of the quietly bohemian atmosphere of those lovely cafés found across Berlin, Budapest and Scandinavia. The exposed tiles, from the shops previous life as a butchers in the early 1900’s, are incredibly pretty. London has become somewhat of a breeding ground for a slew of hipster cafés that often seem a tad self-important, but this place is different. Massimo, one of the owners, has rounded up everything from chairs to cutlery from car boot sales and charity shops, he explains: “some may think it’s try-hard but I have always been this way, I have always loved recycling and finding ways to give things a new life.”
The food is ERMAZING. It’s always been my closet desire to have a full English breakfast that includes both the meat AND veggie options, at The Haberdashery you can do just that and you don’t even get so much as a glimmer of ‘disdain eyes’ when you ask for it. They also do lots of Bloody Mary variations to wash it all down… Sold!
This place just smells so god damn delicious. The Good Egg operates a café type set-up during the day, featuring a menu that includes items such as shakshuka and avocado with raw tahini on toast. From 4pm it turns into a restaurant, with a menu of dishes designed to be shared, such as candy beets with orange, mint and feta or Za’atar Fried Chicken with caraway red cabbage slaw & chilli honey.
The Good Egg has an atmosphere that lends itself to drinking fresh mint tea, whilst enjoying the Middle Eastern influenced food with friends or fam – perhaps whilst perched on one of the benches next to the window. We’re all about the people watching. The staff are very friendly and don’t mind you standing there for ages, like a gawping idiot, when you can’t decide what you want to stuff in your face. Good effort guys.
3. Green Room Café, Church Street.
A florist and a café. A florist and a café… Why didn’t I think of this? Absolute winning combo. To be sat among the roses and tulips whilst you sup at a coffee and catch-up with friends, well let’s just say that I was more zen than a matcha tea drinking yogi.
The goats cheese, tomato fondue and olive tart is ridiculously good and the iced coffee is not to be sniffed at. While you’re eating and drinking the smell of the flowers tends to waft over to you and the big glass windows allow a flow of sun to stream through them and warm your eyelids (well on the 0.2 days of the year when we have actual sunshine). Lovely place and pretty hilarious staff. Top banana.
This sunny little place is full of character and has really bloody good coffee. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the java is the most important part, but hold on to your hats because the Yellow Warbler’s South America street food influenced menu is what keeps me coming back for more. They had me at ‘rocket and chorizo arepas’ and ‘avocado on seven seeded sourdough with a South American twist’. Be still my beating heart.
The Yellow Warbler is quirky, without being pretentious, and is one of the truely independent cafes that ensures that the majority of its food is organic and locally sourced. If you’re lucky you’ll catch one of their exhibitions, Andrew J Millar is currently exhibiting his series of gold and silver leaf collages that depict troubling, dream-like visions.
Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.
Recent times have seen an unnerving surge in right-wing politics. President Trump’s campaign to ‘make America great again’ saw him make the audacious promise to ‘build a wall’. France saw the uneasy ascent of Marine Le Pen’s National Front in its general elections and Germany’s AfD, (the first openly nationalist party in almost six decades) celebrated an unprecedented third place victory in its recent elections.
Summer is officially over. We're not sure it ever began in the first place. I guess that's one of the few downsides of living in London (other than crippling debt, tube strikes and Boris Johnson), but I digress... Magic Roundabout Old Street is raising the bar for winter, transforming the site into a tented, heated, 'Decades' inspired wonderland.
Guess who’s back, back again. Fat Macy’s back, tell a friend. No, really. Tell everyone about it. Fat Macy's supper club came back into our lives and this time around they had their Middle Eastern Feast on at the cute as a button Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington, with a menu inspired by Ottolenghi and the #CookForSyria campaign.
Getting shouted at by a burly prison guard with a buzz cut and an offensively loud American accent isn't usually the way one wishes to begin one's night. Nevertheless, as I clamber into a very large (cheers guys) orange jumpsuit, the guard shoves a bottle of Conkers Gin wrapped in a thin towel (no fluffy Egyptian cotton here lads), into my now somewhat clammy hands. Whispering hastily at me to not get caught by the warden I'm ushered off in single file into the depths of Alcotraz.
If you haven’t heard the news yet, the world’s first black bookshop is back. Yes, after months of campaigning for funding and volunteers, New Beacon Books has reopened after threat of closure with a brand new refurb to boot. Established in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, New Beacon Books is the UKs longest running independent bookshop specialising in African-Caribbean literature, cards and artwork.
London cocktail week is upon us. To be honest I can think of nothing worse than strapping on a wristband, carrying around a guidebook and queuing up for something that just needs to be brought to my sorry, tired old lips immediately. Apparently this year however, Drink Up London have released an app that eliminates all of the above nonsense. Get your ticket, download the app and get enjoying your £6 cocktails all week long. Just remember to flash your digital pass to the bartender first.
Garage and psych rock fans rejoice - The Psychotic Monks are stopping off in Camden tonight as part of their European tour. Roughly translated from French (GCSE stylee merci very much), the psych rockers describe themselves as “noise, fury, music impregnated .. with life impulses” finding a balance between “neurotic madness and contemplative melancholy”.
A bubble tea place in Finsbury Park? That also does a bangin’ teriyaki chicken rice box? Uh, hell yeah. This little gem quietly opened up last March on Wells Terrace. Y’know the spot where folks bumble off the most crowded bus in the entirety of London and damn near break a hip scampering for the tube round the corner? Yeah, that little pocket of Finsbury Park.
According to a recent Provident Personal Credit survey Londoners still remain at the bottom of the friendliness scale scoring just 6.44 out of 10. Begging the question, how could anyone be possibly proud to be a Londoner? A city where its inhabitants revel in their ability to remain as cynical and isolated from the outside world as possible. A shallow group of people who are far more interested in Instagramming their brunch then saving money to buy houses or giving back to the community.
A series of talks taking place this November shines a necessary light on mental illness in boys and young men. Speakers will gather at Finsbury Park’s Arts and Media School to raise awareness and help advise on a variety of topics including substance misuse, eating disorders and suicide.
Staying in a hotel one mile from where you actually live feels strange enough, but doing it on your own is even stranger. These photos are a visual record of me wandering the lonely corridors of a new boutique hotel between the hours of 10-12pm. I would describe the decor as handmade but not cheap, minimal but not clinical. It has the feeling that money has been spent on the things that matter.
The rumours are true: a cheese festival exists and it’s coming to North London. This Sunday. Be there or be … cheese-less I suppose. But you’ve gouda get there early: If you’re as keen as brie and one of the first fifty fromage fondlers to show, you’re in the running for a free bottle of Black Cow’s pure milk vodka. Traders will be setting up stalls along Islington’s Chapel Market: from the Raclette Brothers and Mac to the Future to La Fromagerie and The Cheese Truck.
Dream Talk. It’s like Dream Phone, but not at all. Artist Emma Alonze and musician Andy Becker have joined forces to collaborate on a (possibly prophetic) new sound art project. Londoners are invited to take a moment out of their daily commute, routine or journey and immerse themselves in a narrated collection of dreams. Taking three years worth of forty winks, Alonze has gathered and narrated a chosen few to be set to an ambient soundtrack by Becker.
Holy smoke, her nipples are on fire! Somebody pass the woman an extinguisher. Wait, why is she climbing into that giant margarita glass - does she not know it's highly flammable? She's going to need to be doused with a sizable portion of aloe vera gel at this rate, the poor lamb.