If you mention the word Banner's to anyone in the Crouch End area, they are liable to stare off dreamily, or begin a ten minute monologue in praise of this hip little food joint.
The place has a legion of slavering devotees and maintains a near mythical status in the region.
No weekend in Crouch End is complete without a lingering breakfast at Banner's. The very fact that you need to book in advance for a fry up should tell you all that you need to know.
On a Saturday or a Sunday the trendy people of N8 cram into the booths or sit at the bar to enjoy the huge portions of sausages and eggs, washed down with unlimited refill coffee. There is a plaque in the corner of the room commemorating the visit by Bob Dylan a few years back. I hope he booked. He got a prime table.
So why does this place attract this kind of loyalty, especially as it is in one of the most café-intensive places on earth? Well, to put it short, it is hard to find anything that they do badly. The design is a mixture of American diner and retro blues bar. Think old gig posters and stainless steel bar. The music is fun and funky, playing a mixture of 60s hits and modern guitar pop classics.
The portions are huge and tasty, with the menu focused on international classics like jerk chicken and latino curries. They call it Global Home Cooking. I call it delicious. The staff are friendly and helpful and the cafe seems to do a lot for charity. But the main draw is the way that all the elements combine to create a great atmosphere. Going to Banner's feels lively and energising in a way that a trip to the local greasy spoon doesn't. I visit whenever I can, sometimes taking some work to do during the week, when the crowds have thinned. Banner's is a legendary venue in the area and long may it continue.