Tufnell Park’s newest cafe opening, Bunny Little’s Bakery, has been causing a stir all week with a debate still in full swing. “It’s decorated like a child on LSD,” yelped one stricken reader, while the prices sent some of you hopping mad: “it’s obviously aimed at vacant, cash-rich, so-called ‘yummy mummies’”; while more than one happy customer called it “a breath of bright and cheerful fresh air”.
What we’ve learnt? You lot clearly care about your daily bread. Which is why we thought it time to pop into another bakery in the area.
Carrot-coloured corner spot Dylan’s has been on Queen’s Crescent since the mid-noughties and took the spot of a longstanding bakery before it.For all those freaked out by Bunny’s “Food is my Fashion” aesthetic, Dylan’s is comfortingly old school. It’s what they all used to be like before Kentish Town got a bit posh and everyone wanted soda bread.
The prices? Bargainous. Wholemeal loaves start at a teensy 70p while a fluffy white bloomers will set you back £1.40. The crust is good, but the bread itself quite salty, a little airy. A bit like memories of “school bread”, in fact. And, of course, no foccacia here, or bakers hailing from Soho or Hackney for that matter: in fact, the loaves are all made at their Willesden branch.
It was busy on our visit: Thursday is the Crescent’s market day and the trio of girls behind the counter were small-talking the customers while buttering sandwiches and warming pasties. “We get a lot of regulars,” says Belgian manager Didi in between slicing a Danish Bloomer and bagging a chocolate cornflake cake. “I love working here, meeting people every day.”
Lots of friendly “loves” and “cheers” are exchanged across the counter. A workman comes in and after an “alright?”, the girls make his coffee with three sugars and a sausage roll without him having to order; another regular. A mum holding the hand of her school uniform clad child are “cheerioed” out of the door with a bag of 4 for £1 doughnuts and a chicken sandwich.The cakes? Banana: not bad for 80p, moist and fruity but with an unnecessary brown sweet icing that clogged up in the cellophane wrapping. Behind the glass dome counter, lemon cake is yellow with food colouring and perhaps a tad too much sugary jam-smeared stuff; but the jolly atmosphere, helped by the nostalgic grinning gingerbread men, is infectious.
And they do decent espresso at a quid a go too. Outside, customers read the paper, sipping steaming coffees on the metal chairs to the soundtrack of Westlife from the market traders opposite.
Queen’s Crescent Market houses a popular artisan bread stall each Saturday now – reader Holly Wilkins emailed recently to rave abut a “huge olive ciabatta for £2.50 and a yummy pain au raisin for a pound which I think is great value”.
But its success should not hurt Dylan’s swift trade. It’s not foodie, it’s not hipster and it’s certainly not a fashionable rabbit – but it’s a good honest bakery for local people. Long may it live. 72 Queen’s Crescent, NW5 4EE