I am a freelance writer, editor and teacher based in north London.
Published October 4th 2012
I love places that are a curious mix of styles and influences. I love places that drip little details that show the owners take more than the minimum care over their business.
Tucked away, just off the Broadway, in Crouch End sits one of the cutest little cafes in the capital. The Haberdashery combines a traditional décor; think mismatched cutlery, gingham aplenty and white painted wooden panels, with a modern take on café food.
There are few more stringent judges of a café than the mums of Crouch End and on my visit they were roaring a baby-voiced approval. The chatter blitzed back and forth, giving the place a real lived-in quality. It is about as far from the grim, faceless chain coffee shops as imaginable.
The Haberdashery is more like a big communal living room, or a time share cottage, sitting just far enough from the beaten track to ensure privacy and a club-like atmosphere. In the past, this café has been used for photo shoots of glamorous models draped elegantly over the homely furniture.
It has the kind of stylised raggedness that editors and photographers love, with crooks and corners containing secrets and stories of days gone by. You get the feeling that if you were to travel into the future, this café would be unchanged. It seems to stand outside of time. It was lovely in the past and will be lovely in the future.
Fashions will come and go, but the customers will keep returning to this hidden gem. The menu is simple but always fresh and tasty, a real step up from corner café fry ups and tea. Few places manage to seem to seem so ragtag, while simultaneously maintain the highest of standards.
Top marks indeed for a top class eatery, approved by all.