I am a freelance writer, editor and teacher based in north London.
Published November 14th 2012
Not your daily bread
It sometimes feels as though Crouch End has more cafes than inhabitants and yet, each weekend they are all full to overflowing with people enjoying coffee and pastries. I sometimes wonder what the world record is for cafes per capita. Crouchy must be getting close.
Despite all the competition, Gail's Artisan Bakery proudly stands in the centre of the village, opposite the historic clock tower, and seems to attract more than its fair share of happy customers. The main counter serves many varieties of specialist bread to an appreciative audience.
Once you have ordered, all the tables are tucked away at the back of the café, away from the front door and the till, thus avoiding that horrible sensation of being continually bumped and knocked. The big windows let in plenty of light and make for great people watching. Once you have a seat and a drink, it would be easy to while away an hour or so here. It feels bright, clean and relaxed.
The staff are uniformly polite and courteous and seem to know the products inside out. Customers with allergies or special dietary requirements seem to be well catered for here. The people working the Saturday shift when I visited seem to be enjoying themselves and taking a genuine care in the service they provided.
If you are looking for a cheap little café for a cheap tea and five sugars, maybe this is not for you.
Gail's remains one of the most popular cafes in the area.
They describe themself as being an 'artisan bakery' and they clearly take what they do very seriously. This is a place for people who care about great bread, good sandwiches and a modern take on the café experience.