Village Cafe, York Rise, Tufnell Park

First visited: Saturday 30th July 2011


Since the repeated failure of the map cafe to be anything other than bitterly disappointing, I’ve decided to venture off my usual beaten track for local caffs. York Rise can’t be that off the beaten track given that it supports a local butcher and continental food shop not much changed since the late 1970s, but I hope it gets enough passing trade to keep this very pleasant cafe open. Wooden floors and tables, plants, irrelevant, or simply strange, nick nacks (a loaf of bread anyone?) add up to the standard middle class local, but it doesn’t feel precious or pretentious and it was being run impressively efficiently by one gentleman on his own (who was also preparing the lunches: of the moussaka and lasagne variety, rather than pie and chips). It wasn’t madly busy, but he managed a fair amount of multi-tasking without seeming hassled and with a smile.


The Village Cafe doesn’t actually do a full English. However, they do various egg, cheese, ham and toast combinations (as well as your standard panini and continental). I had the Croque Madame, which he seemed to have made from scratch and used decent thick-cut ham and two poached eggs. Even the bread seemed to be interestingly seedy and didn’t collapse under the weight of all that protein. The side salad was not a silly garnish, but a nicely dressed portion of tomatoes, leaves and peppers and I didn’t have to ask for fresh ground pepper (only because I didn’t see the peppermill tucked under his arm, I actually did before he had a chance to offer it). My only quibble was the tea. “A large tea” got me a 3/4 filled oversized coffee cup containing hot-ish water and, at least, a decent teabag. I had to have two which bumped up the price a bit. But I suppose that’s what you get with peppermills and wooden tables: for a mug of bright orange liquid of delight, I need to expect laminated menus, plastic chairs and little glass shakers of vaguely peppery powder. It’s a fair swap, and I don’t mind visiting both varieties of caff.


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