While it’s only been in Crouch End for a few years, The Haberdashery has the feel of somewhere that’s always been around. And in that short time it has won numerous awards including Best Coffee Shop in London at the London Lifestyle Awards. It’s somewhere I’ve been going to since it opened and I’ve watched it grow from local cafe to full-on community hub. Massimo and Greg, who run the cafe, have recently expanded into Stoke Newington, but this review will focus only on the Crouch End branch.
Coffee – 4/5
Using Nude Espresso, this is a very tasty coffee. Served in a bowl instead of a mug or cup, this is a long, intense cappuccino and they even manage to get away with the chocolate dusting on the top – just. The reason it doesn’t score full marks is because I’ve noticed, recently, that sometimes the cappuccinos can be a little milky. The bowls they serve them in are huge and, depending on who makes the coffee, they can be filled to the brim, which dilutes the flavour. Also, at £2.85 it’s one of the priciest coffees in the area.
Atmosphere – 5/5
With its pastel painted panelling and bare brickwork, this is somewhere between a Swedish lodge and a New York loft. It’s full of lovely, quirky touches from the bunting and fairy lights around the window to the vintage tea pots and cups hung on the back wall. The music is always interesting and the tiny garden a joy in the summer. Depending on what time of day you go, it can be full on Crouch End’s (in)famous yummy mummies or young arty types chatting about their latest projects. With the tables tightly packed together, it has a bustling feel at busy times and a cosy atmosphere when a little emptier.
Food – 3/4
It has an excellent choice of cakes, homemade breads served their own served in little terracotta pots and other baked goods, though they do verge on the expensive side. However, you do get a proper slice which could easily be shared between two. For breakfast you can choose from the light or hearty menu with options including porridge with poached pear and the full English. Its main course are where I feel it struggles a bit. The choices are limited to sandwiches and salads, which are all very nice, or a choice or four mains and two sides. The mains have a very Swedish feel with meatballs and fishcakes. A few more hot dishes would boost this to a perfect score.
Service – 3/3
Great service, especially if Massimo or Greg are in the house. Massimo is especially chatty and is happy to talk about the local area, cool projects or the cafe until the cows come home. The service is fast and friendly, though there can be a bit of waiting around on busier days.
Extras – 3/3
This is where The Haberdashery really excels. This is not just a cafe, this is a mini event organiser. In house, there are the regular events like Three Songs, which sees local musicians play three songs to raise money for charity; Supper Club, offering late night opening and a chance to indulge in one of its excellent cocktails; art exhibitions, which are always quirky, fun and local; and much more. On top of that it has also launched Barboot – a monthly car boot sale held on Friday nights across a number of venues in Crouch End. It was also part of the Crouch End Festival. It’s not an exaggeration to say that since its arrival in the area, it has become a focus for a lot of what is good about Crouch End these days.
Summary – 18/20
Is it the best Coffee Shop in London? While I’ve yet to visit them all (one day I will), it’s going to be hard to beat The Haberdashery. It’s everything a new independent cafe should be – different, involved in its local community, serving fresh and healthy food and, above all, makes a great cup of coffee.
22 Middle Lane,
Tel: 0208 342 8098