North London Food & Culture

Who makes Kentish Town’s best hot chocolate?

Eight neighbourhood cafes - and one chain - are put through Michael Ptootch's highly scientific tests on this rainy Monday

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Each cafe is judged in a whopping 18 categories. Yikes.

“I only allow myself one coffee a day, because I get all jittery,” declares Kentish Town Road’s famously animated hairdresser, Michael Ptootch (of Flaxon Ptootch fame). “So I often seek out a good hot chocolate that’s within easy reach of the salon.”

A man brandishing scissors all day certainly needs a steady hand, particularly one as prone to gesticulation as Mr Ptootch. And the unintended consequence of his strict caffeine management is that he’s become quite possibly the foremost authority on the high street’s cocoa-based beverages.

Anima chef-owner Mustapha poses with the young critics
Winners: Anima chef-owner Mustapha poses with the young critics.
So, one rainy Sunday, Michael and his kids decided to settle the argument over which hot choc is the best, once and for all.

“We sent in my son as a mystery shopper,” explains Michael. “He would go in as the straight man, order the hot chocolate and as soon as it had been made, we’d all swarm in and put it to through a rigorous test.”


He’ll throw his hands up (sans scissors, we hope) and admit, the resulting Top 9 isn’t the most scientific of studies, but with categories ranging from yumminess through to presentation, freebies and even the music played, it’s certainly thorough. And the exercise does highlight some interesting inconsistencies.

“I’d always say Somewhere Over Knowhere are capable of making the best version on the drag, but on the occasion we did the test, instead of the one they’d usually concoct, using chocolate buttons, they made a sort of kid’s one. Not good enough!”

So, take a look at the results above (with a pinch of salt, we might add): by a whisker, hit cafe Anima e Cuore scoops yet another plaudit.

Who do you think makes the best hot chocolate?

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