Review: Two Doors Down, Kentish Town Road

It’s actually bigger than you might think. We’re impressed by a not-so-micro new caff on a reinvigorated stretch

Topped: smoked mackerel and horseradish toast at Two Doors Down. Photos: Stephen Emms
Topped: smoked mackerel and horseradish toast at Two Doors Down. Photos: Stephen Emms
The other week we mentioned how the lower Kentish Town Road is becoming a real destination for quirky indie cafes, from Arancini to Bintang, Doppio to Guanabana. This week another joined the throng – and it’s a corker.

Great signage: Two Doors Down
Hand-painted signage: Two Doors Down

A two-floor concept, it makes clever use of its ostensibly tiny space: upstairs there’s a bare wood counter, white tiling and jars on shelves. A blackboard lists daily specials and lunch options; piled high are tray bakes, cookies, custard filled brioche buns, gluten-free cakes and savoury tarts. A counter faces the window, with a small alfresco terrace beyond; downstairs, a snug lounge is cutely furnished, and might suit those wishing to block out noisy old KTR, and concentrate on the beans (or a good book).

Friendly owners Rich and Klara serve up an interesting tale of how they ended up back in their old stomping ground of north London. After years in the south-east suburb of Brockley, where Klara was a teacher, the couple were about to abandon the capital for Brighton – before stumbling across this disused unit which, they say, costs less than a similar-sized space in the oversubscribed seaside resort.

Rich and Klara are chuffed to have finally opened.
Beaming: Rich and Klara are chuffed to have opened in NW1.

So anyway, we popped by yesterday lunchtime to try, amongst other things, the “t’riffic toasts”. A very vogueish offering, they chalk up three daily options: a classic beetroot and goat’s cheese, a really good smoked mackerel and horseradish – and avocado and tabasco, our only niggle with the latter being it should be mashed, Caravan-style, not sliced, for maximum moreishness.


A mighty fine sausage roll with added quali's egg.
A mighty fine sausage roll with added quail’s egg. Photo: Stephen Emms

Best of all? Why, the homemade quails’ egg sausage roll “with a kick”, hand-crafted daily by Rich, who builds wells into the sausage meat and breaks the mini yolks into it before baking. The result is herby, moist and fiery (that’ll be the chilli), with delectably flaky pastry. In fact, we’ve never seen Kentishtowner mascot Pepper lick her lips so frantically as she watched something disappear into a human mouth.

Don't forget the coffee: hip E2 blend Allpress
Don’t forget the coffee: hip E2 blend Allpress

Of course we must mention the coffee, too. The pair have plumped for a “house” blend, so “people know what they’re getting if they’re regulars,” says Rich, sensibly.

But what a blend: a double espresso of their Redchurch Street-based Allpress was smooth and balanced, as good Arabica beans should be, with just a hint of caramel. Co-editor Tom’s americano had a slightly too great water-to-coffee ratio (although a long black earlier in the week was spot on). And we shared a creamy carrot and coconut cake, supplied by London-based bakery Breadren, “a high quality start-up”, says Klara.

They are keen to win over the community, so deals abound all weekend, including a “buy one get one free” cake offer today, fun quiz tomorrow (for a fortnight’s free coffee) and “community focus day” on Sunday. Look out soon for a show from our very own SecretArtistNW5.

This is box title
Two Doors Down is open at 73 Kentish Town Road NW1. Lunch from around £4.50. Sausage roll “with a kick” £3.50. Coffee from £1.70. Cakes from £.60. Follow their progress on Twitter @twodoorsdownNw1

  • Show Comments

  • Ian

    Good cappuccino from them this morning, very friendly chat about an upcoming art exhibition they’re holding of pictures of listed buildings in Kentish Town. Welcome addition.

  • Gilo

    Went in yesterday and they were both lovely reckon this place is going to be a real winner. Looks like a new Italian deli opening next to pangs garden as well – this stretch is on the up.

  • Neil

    But what I really want to know is: What’s the name all about? (Not knowing what is two doors up.)

    • Ian

      Quinn’s one way, the Bike Shop the other. So I’m no wiser either.

    • Lewi

      I fell in love with the girl who lives two doors down?

  • JoshZingZing

    Really lovely place. Looking forward to being a regular :-).

  • Gavin

    Excellent. Good luck people.

  • Pete

    Great coffee, lovely people, superb sausage role…

  • OBoe Carter

    Excellent cafe – this may be the best new opening in K-Town in the past year. I went this weekend for tea and cake. They have a large selection of teas, including a floral something or other iced tea, which was amazing and very welcome on a warm day. The cake is delicious – moist and fresh – very nutty for my sticky toffee cake – it tasted like something baked it at home that morning. The stretch of KTR that it’s on is not the best but the cafe has a very home-grown feel to it which means I don’t really mind. I’ll support regular folk looking to open a good quality cafe with top notch cakes, coffees, and teas any day versus some of the money-machine backed places that have opened up in the area recently.

  • Sarah Peak

    Two Doors Down did some excellent sandwiches for a special boat trip on the Regents Canal this summer. The food was delicious and it was a real pleasure working with Klara and Rich. Thanks to them both for adding to a really memorable day!

  • Marjorie Jane

    Love this place. On my second visit, I already felt like a regular due to the friendly conversation and the amazing memories of the owners. Child-friendly, adult-friendly, delicious coffee, help-yourself water, cinema chairs in the basement, and tabasco avocado on toast – so simple, and yet possibly the most delicious combination ever!!! Hands down the best coffee shop in all of KT/Camden.