NFT London Harringay

Harringay

A walk up Green Lanes is a pretty grim experience. Roughly one gazillion kebab places, a bunch of jewellers, a horrid-looking wedding shop and, well, not much else. That said, it could be one of the only places in the world where Turks, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots live together happily; create your own 'meze crawl' at any of the little Cypriot or Turkish restaurants along the way. Eventually, The Garden Ladder provides a glimmer of hope with cheap guest ales, and alcoholic respite can be found in the grand Salisbury.




         



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Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Autograf Grill
There is a character in Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch called Boris whose mother was Polish and father is Ukrainian, while he was born in Siberia. Whichever dingy bar he's in, wherever it is in the world, whether it's New York or Amsterdam, he manages to conjure up a selection of side plates which appeal to his Slavic palate. I think Boris would like eating in this place. Before our starters arrive we are offered some Polish bread, gherkins, and a spread made up of fat and pork scratchings. Sounds possibly unappetising to our anti-fat Western sensibilities but I assure you it's delicious. I knew I may be in trouble ordering pierogi to start, these pillowy yet filling dumplings are hard to resist though. My partner in crime had bacon wrapped potatoes and I stole his garlicky sour cream dip to douse the pierogi in. My pork loin was fine but the boy's honey pork ribs were to die for. Beautifully tender, despite being full, we couldn't stop eating them. Needless to say, the food came with lots of cabbage--pickled red cabbage, white cabbage, browned cabbage (with more pork crackling) all of which were tasty and moreish. They have an impressive number of flavoured vodkas too but it being Wednesday, we decided to call it a night. How very un-Polish.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Bun & Bar
Bun & Bar sells itself primarily as a gastropub yet rather cannily they've jumped on the burger bandwagon. Just when you thought the trend had reached saturation point along comes this Johnny-come-lately. Well, I'm glad because on a Friday night I don't have to wrestle the crowds at Meat Liquor or Patty + Bun. I say that but last week at 9 pm, this little joint was hopping and we could only get a seat outside. A shame because a major draw seems to be the live music, something the bar is committed to with bookings filling every weekend. Luckily we could still hear from our al fresco perch on this balmy September night indeed, slightly unnervingly we were sat right next to the drummer with a mere pane of glass between us. Fine for us although I imagine he may have been put off his rhythm somewhat by the sight of my messy eating. Because I love me a beer and a cheeseburger. My burger was pleasingly rare--something that many places overshoot despite their claims otherwise. The brioche bun melded nicely with the cheesiness and soaked up all the saucy goodness. The chips were okay--string fries seasoned with rosemary. They did the job but for the real deal, head to Eat 17's burger bar for thrice-cooked chips. And lager from Crate Brewery. I could get used to this.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Brouhaha
Brouhaha used to be The Garden Ladder, one of only a couple of stolid listings for the Harringay neighbourhood in the NFT London book since the first edition back in 2009. The locals were quite worried when it closed down but it seems that Paresh and Dipesh (who have taken over) have done well with the new incarnation. I'm not a great ale or beer drinker but the guest draft beverages were a major draw of the Garden Ladder and Brouhaha sold out of their Redemption beers on tap at the opening night according to CAMRA's (Campaign for Real Ale) Facebook page. They have draft Aspall's so this cider-drinker is happy. My partner in crime and I also thought it was a clever idea to have a Black Bull shot (Kahlua and tequila) between each pint of cider we sunk. It was good, you should try it. The place is neither a pub nor a cocktail bar but has a really friendly, laid back atmosphere as well as a varied clientele. It's also open in the daytime and I would happily come in for a brewski and a read of the papers. More food options to follow once the kitchen is refurbed apparently; till then, bar snacks are available to soak up that tequila.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Railway Fields Nature Reserve
"Green Lanes? What's so green about them?" I hear you say. Well, I have found a spot which may go a small way in justifying the name. Behind the magical gates opposite Green Lanes train station is a little oasis of calm. It used to be a railway goods depot before it was reclaimed and although not a huge space, when you walk to the end you feel positively miles away from the city--it's so quiet. When I was there, there was a woman walking her dog and someone meditating on a bench. Unfortunately it's only open 9am to 5pm in the week and one Saturday each month which somewhat defeats the object of a retreat but the site's primary mission is conservation and education for primary schools. The space is well set out with a nature trail that has stops such as the pond or the stag beetle loggeries. You don't need to be an actual kid to enjoy it though and this big kid thoroughly enjoyed jumping on the swings in the playground when no-one was looking. Further indulging my childlike fascination was the Stench Pipe--a huge chimney which was built in 1892 to carry fumes away from the sewage system, high above people's noses. All in all, a nice little escape.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Blend
My new hood is within the locale of Green Lanes or Harringay according to NFT London. The nabe does not get a very good rap in the guidebook--"a gazillion kebab places" is not a very fair or accurate portrayal of a stretch which has some pretty incredible Turkish food on offer. But if Turkish brekkie is not your bag, there's Blend. Blend has been getting very good reviews for its brunches which do indeed sound delectable. However, I was sad to hear that after opening in the evenings for a few weeks at the beginning of the month, Linda and Steve who run the café, have had to stick to 9 to 5 hours due to lack of traffic. I really hope they reappraise this and perhaps do a weekly supper club, weekend speakeasy, or something of that ilk as I was salivating at the sound of pulled pork with rhubarb sauce and veggie lasagne with goats' cheese. Not to mention delicious cocktails such as the Hugo and The Last Word. So please support your local café--they do Climpson coffee and a mean carrot and courgette cake (gluten-free no less), and as one fellow customer said, "it's a bit of an oasis" if you find Green Lanes too hectic.




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