Monday, 6 June 2011

Cafe Review: Coffee Cake // Crouch End

“We have been open about seven/eight years now”, my waiter informs me. Why on earth have I left it until now to walk in? Coffee Cake is owned by chef Ali Benammar and serves a mixture of continental French and North African cuisine. For a while I have eaten in below par coffee shops in my north London neighbourhood, finding them either too expensive, of poor quality, or both.

‘Coffee Cake’, proudly displays the history and flavour notes behind the beans they are using, on a chalk board above the kitchen. The furniture is well spaced and modern, with wooden flooring contrasting exposed brickwork on the walls. As you walk into the space, you can see and smell the menu all around you. Meringues in the window, cake lined tables, tarts and quiches in open top fridges. Anything you can’t see is displayed on the specials board.

I loved the feel of the place and hoped the staff would be as welcoming. My waiter walked me through all the patisserie and savouries with a good explanation of each. The interactivity of being surrounded by the menu was refreshing; as opposed to a filled counter that divides staff and customers. Everything looked great and the colours were vibrant. My crayfish and tomato tart was like a tall, opened sided quiche. Served hot and with a well dressed salad, it was a steal at £3.50. My chocolate cheesecake that accompanied my cappuccino was buttery, soft and moist, the coffee, equally good.

The service was friendly, efficient and unfussy. You’re in good hands. I grabbed an apple, pear and ginger smoothie to take away. This was made with pure juiced fruit, no additives. A nice touch was that these smoothie’s are customisable, using a variation of any in-house fruit.

Ali Benammar is part of a patisserie revolution in this country, one of the many great benefits of multi-cultural London. Let’s be honest, it’s an area we needed a bit of help in. However, there are even more coffee shops than baby bumps in Crouch End these days, but I am confident that where the others fall down in their infancy, coffee cake will hold its own.

2-Course lunch (exc. drinks) for two at Coffee Cake: £20
Crouch End
28 Broadway Parade
N8 9D8
020 8342 8989

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