Friday 11 November 2022

You Are What You Eat 17

I love sitting in caffs reading the paper and doing the crossword. In lockdown most closed their doors - would they survive? 

I returned to Chapel Market, Islington and found that two of them had re-opened but had gone upmarket. One, that used to be popular and packed, is now a tagine restaurant and almost empty. Perhaps it fills up in the evenings. 

Another refurbed its decor and put in a few armchairs and coffee tables, but despite that it is still a proper greasy spoon. The one opposite was unchanged and shabby, but in the past weeks it has acquired new tables, a glossy marble-effect tiled floor and new paint on the walls. Food is improved, but it's still a haven for old people and odds and sods.

In Stoke Newington the Flamingo is now the Floral, with a green wall – of plastic vegetation. Banquettes are chrome yellow and the place seems as busy as ever. Portions are generous.

Lou's in Dalston went too far upmarket, but has now come back down again. They really know how to make a sandwich – with thin white sliced bread fresh out of the plastic wrapping. Sadly the caff on the De Beauvoir Estate is re-opening as an organic veg shop. It was a haven, with a view of 60s tower blocks.

What they all have in common: Turkish cooks, staff and proprietors. Halal sausages are offered, along with falafel wraps, next to paninis, beans on toast and the all-day breakfast. None advertise themselves as Turkish restaurants, however, and they'll never be reviewed in the broadsheets. Meanwhile, visit and enjoy the excellent and inexpensive food.  

More pix here.

More here, and links to the rest.

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