May 29, 2015

Cafes in Islington | Highbury

Islington is a funny little borough. I spend a lot of time wandering around it and I never can quite tell where it begins and where it ends. As an avid cafe fan, I am blessed to live in this nook of North London, where you'll find them liberally peppered about. 

You might have already enjoyed my 'Cafes in Islington | Holloway Road' edition, which tells short tales of some of the establishments I enjoy there. The thing is, that's just three cafes amongst dozens of others on one stretch. So you see, to service the whole of Islington, I've got plenty to write about.

Let's have a look in and around Highbury, starting with possibly my favourite cafe of all, not just because I have fond memories of the area but also for its resident cafe cat, Max, who likes to come challenge my territory. I have had to let it slide though; he is an actual cat after all.
Places to Eat in London: A great little Islington Cafe

Islington and London Cafe, with Mat & Jess

Fink's Cafe is run by the lovely Mat and Jess, who I had the pleasure of interviewing in their opening week and they have a year since brought the place to life, filling it to the rafters with happy customers.

With fare quite unlike anywhere else, they are the masters of small plates and boards: of fish, of cheese, of meats and of other delights. And everything is presented oh-so-beautifully.

It's like a larder full of loveliness. I often have the salmon board with a giant glass of their excellent Vinho Verde.  

Islington Cafes

Spanish Tapas and Jazz Cafe in Highbury, Islington
Highbury Arts Club

While the opening hours of this little gaff and the fact they don't take cards is a touch irksome, it possesses a number of charms that almost help you to forgive them entirely, such as their Spanish/Australian style brunches - think sunny eggs and greens. Open in the evenings for tapas, there's a number of plates to be shared alongside some plinkety plonkety jazz or cosy comedy. I use the adjective cosy because it is small and it gets steamy but, for me, that makes it unique in its place along the Highbury Barn.

A North London Islington Cafe - a great place to eat in Islington
Little Gem

You're likely not to find this place unless you look for it, which is probably what the locals might prefer. Tucked just off Highbury Corner on a residential street (Corsica Street to be exact), Little Gem is a little gem indeed.

Peaceful proprietors of a mean toasted sandwich and serving Monmouth coffee, Little Gem is also Japanese-inspired, with subtle touches from the plates to the curios that adorn the walls.

If you fancy a clandestine coffee date, no one is likely to find you here. 

A lovely French cafe in Islington, North London
Le Peche Mignon

Serving also Monmouth coffee, you'll find this cafe if you slip off Holloway Road en route to Highbury Fields (Ronalds Road).

With shelves filled with French delights and a counter brimming with fresh salads and pastas, it's a pretty busy and cosy spot for a bite to eat and some gentle shopping. This Islington cafe also has a petite garden that is a regular little sun trap, too.

 If you're in Highbury soon, why not check them out for yourself? Or if you're in Islington in general and on the hunt, just tweet me @thecafecat.

For more London sweet spots, be sure to follow me on Instagram.

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