North London Food & Culture

Humdingers N7

3 to try: Humdingers on Brecknock, Lord Stanley pizza – and South End Green’s BYOB

A brand new bakery and cafe, an old BYOB fave - and wood-fired slices at NW1's best backstreet boozer

NEW: Humdingers at the Buttermilk Shop

Right up there on Brecknock Road, a couple of doors down from the legendary Salvino, and a baguette’s hurl from both Bumblebee and Bread By Bike, is Humdingers, a small north London chain with branches in Hornsey and Highbury.

Originally a Hoxton catering business, chef-owner Robert Hunningher (ex-River Cafe) won acclaim (and even a BEM) for pivoting in the pandemic and running a social enterprise soup kitchen and food bank to feed the local community, alongside delivering meals to NHS workers. You can’t argue with that.

This latest bakery and cafe at the “Buttermilk Shop” (see signage below), is a chilled new spot for excellent coffee (we can vouch for that), pastries (hello giant sausage rolls) and chunky sarnies. There’s also an interesting pizza menu served till 7pm, with toppings like rock shrimp with vodka tomato sauce, and a tasty sounding vegan number with squash puree, caramelized onion, pumpkin seeds and zucchini.

Humdingers by night. Photo: SE

The two-floor space is appealingly airy, with huge windows, lots of foliage, a buddha serenely in one corner, a mezzanine area with neon signs, and a gently pumping house soundtrack. There’s even an oil canvas above the counter. It’s worth a weekend pilgrimage, whichever part of the neighbourhood you choose to lay your hat. And as a bakery it also provides decent value loaves – a small white or dark rye sourdough is just £2.50, large £3.50. 39 Brecknock Road, N7 0BT.


PIZZA: Lord Stanley

Lord Stanley
Timeless: Lord Stanley last week. Photo: SE

The sister pub to the nearish Tufnell Park Tavern, the Lord Stanley is one of the area’s all-time classic boozers, sitting tiled and handsome on the corner of Camden Park Road. The interior? Grand in size but, save for a lacquered bottle green ceiling, comfortingly worn, its robust wooden furniture bearing the dents and scratches of decades of use. You’re quite literally never more than three steps from the bar, while the menu of well-priced gastropub dishes is still chalked up daily.

But until the other day we had never tried the pizzas: the learning is that these are well worth ago – and good value too at not much over a tenner each. An unctuously gooey taleggio, garlic and chestnut mushroom just lost out to a distinctly moreish anchovy, olives, capers, tomatoes and marjoram, but both were torn apart by our table. Worth a hike up the (slight) incline, for sure. 51 Camden Park Rd, London NW1 9BH

BYOB: Don’t you forget about Dar’s

Dar's Grill
Feasting at Dar’s Grill. Photo: SE

Elm Terrace, a small parade on the tip of Constantine Road in South End Green, is home to a Pakistani grill and Indian curryhouse we frequent from time to time. There’s an open kitchen in which a gaggle of chefs swirl about at peak times, there are cosy booths and a mixed crowd of Gospel Oak, Kentish Town and Hampstead denizens. As for the food, on a recent wet Sunday afternoon we scoffed faultless Tandoori lamb chops, Tarka dhal, surprisingly good chilli paneer, half a chicken and tasty rotis. BYOB means it’ll be £20 each for a feast. And service is of the delightfully courteous kind. Dar’s, 2 Elm Terrace NW3

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.