Beyond the obvious geographical bias of my blog I’ve noticed that my posts so far have been very Crouch centre-centric.
I had crammed the butterflies back into my wallet in preparation to review the Haberdashery, but it was unexpectedly closed. Instead I prowled down to Priory road, to Olive, in the hope it might provide a wholesome wallet-friendly brunch. This part of town starts to peal a bit of the flavour from Wood Green. Al Pacino’s mini-market is displaying some enormous mystery root vegetables and a scattering of builder-stuffed greasy-spoons are providing some welcome respite from the happy bunting and twee cupcakes of the centre.
Inside, Olive is a small space with basic wood chairs and a plain tiled floor. Coloured glass lanterns hanging from a lattice-work on the ceiling and Gustav Klimpt canvas prints provide the colour. On a quiet Friday mid- morning the waitresses are sitting down to brunch after the breakfast rush. A patriarch pops out of the kitchen every so often to sit out front for a smoke. In the corner by the window there’s a strangely well-groomed workman getting stuck into generous full English and sipping a dainty cappuccino. A man humours the stories of his four year old grandson whilst the grandson in question scribbles over the lines of a colouring book.
An enormous blackboard takes up the entirety of the back wall and displays the breakfast sets. The waitress takes my order and I’m presented with an impressive wheel of Menemen – a jumble of tomatoes, peppers, onions and eggs, scattered with a large handful of coriander. It comes with a basket of Turkish bread for dipping. It’s juicy and exciting, the fresh herbs a welcome addition at breakfast to a palate bored of the usual flat carbs.
I’ve had this type of breakfast meal before in the Saturday gauntlet at Beam on Tottenham lane, there with a pleasant dotting of cheese and a not so pleasant hour-long wait. Here it’s quiet, and within ten minutes my breakfast is proudly slapped in front of me with an efficient twirl.
The flavours are simple, and the café doesn’t pretend to be flashy. You’re not going to find artisanal homemade sourdough or organic coffee. My extra toast was your average processed white. But you cannot deny it’s excellent value for money, welcoming, and offers no pretensions or promises other than tasty food and big portions.
This is the first place I’ve seen lemon juice provided as a condiment on the tables, alongside salt and olive oil. It represents simplicity, a welcoming love of good, hearty flavours and simple pleasures that perfectly characterise this charming hidey-hole.