‘It’s like some dreamy, boozeless north London re-enactment of Cheers’

Why columnist Giles Coren is a regular at Crick’s Corner – even though he doesn’t like the coffee

Welcoming: the scenic suntrap spot. Photo: Cricks Corner
OK, we know we’re late on this – probably something to do with The Times paywall – but it was interesting to read Giles Coren on lovely Dartmouth Park Hill caff Crick’s Corner.

“It is a testament to the Cricks Corner coffee shop in Archway, London N19, that I take my morning java there every day that I can, even though I do not like the coffee they serve,” he said in last week’s column.

“I don’t like it at all. But I love Cricks. So I go. Because there is so much more to a coffee place than the coffee. I love it for the owner, Simon, who cycles to work every morning from Brighton (or will when he’s moved there) and has never slept, either because he has got drunk on home-distilled loganberry schnapps at a tofu-tasting in Haggerston or because he was up all night with a sleepless toddler. Sometimes both. I love it for the rotating cast of Robins to his Batman, each of them prouder than the last of his own mighty barista skills, regardless of the fact that people come here mostly for the love and would come if they served nothing but boiled widdle. And I’m not saying they don’t.”

Kelly and Simon at Cricks. Photo: CC
Coren then goes on to say how he loved Kelly, “the former Grazia picture editor who opened Cricks with Simon a couple of years ago on the corner of the street where my office used to be, and who did a pottery course so she could make the cups for the shop, but never got the hang of handles. So for a long time I went every morning for coffee I didn’t like in a cup I couldn’t hold.”


And so it goes on: he loves “Carlos, the endlessly optimistic, caffeine-addicted Mexican academic with his fine range of caps and leather coats, Rebecca, the Financial Times fiction editor, Elena, the food photographer, the scrummy mummy who never stops complaining at top volume about her useless builders … I love all my coffee friends, who seem always to be there when I walk in, like some dreamy, boozeless north London re-enactment of Cheers.”

Giles Coren at home. But he’ll leave it for a ‘boiled lemon juice.’ Photo: GC
In fact, coffee aside, the column is a veritable paean to the little N19 pit stop. Here’s the rest of it:

“I love the smell of bacon, the Brick Lane bagels, the St John’s doughnuts, the chicken and avocado sandwiches on sourdough rye. I love the fact that once in a while Simon gets a bag of properly roasted coffee in and I think everything is going to be okay, but then the next time I come in he’s back on the green stuff and saying, “Morning, Giles. Boiled lemon juice?

“I love the bantz (“I saw your programme last night.” “Really?” “Yeah. It was shit”) and I love, most of all, that the first thing anyone ever says to me is, “You just missed Ed Miliband,” as if the sourness of the espresso I am about to swallow might be sweetened by this ever so near encounter with one of the great statesmen of our time.

“Which is all to say that I would never presume to withhold my love from a place of refreshment just because I didn’t like the things it made me put in my mouth.”

In typically Coren style, this is, of course, all a lengthy preamble to the meat of the review – new Rupert Street opening Xu. But do you agree with his verdict on Crick’s? And do you eat or drink anywhere locally despite, not because, of its comestibles?

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Read our review of Cricks Corner here. The cafe can be found at 80 Dartmouth Park Hill N19. Open daily 8am until 430pm

Read the full article here (if you can access it).

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