CAFE ALSO: BRUNCH AND BROWSE
It was an article by John Walsh scooped in THE WEEK which brought this place to my attention – a restaurant and an adjoining bookshop? Sounds very “Solitary Diner”! So I visited. I got an 82 bus from Finchley Rd Tube station onward toward North Finchley; a longish ride but worth it! To be pedantic, four stops after Golders Green. And then, here indeed it was, ALSO; very unpretentious, rather like a sea-side shack but hiding metropolitan and Mediterranean delights and a bookshop.
I’m not sure what the “Also” refers to, whether shop and also a restaurant – or a restaurant with book shop. Either way for me, who delights in reading and having lunch – this was very heaven on a leaf-browning, blowy October afternoon in 2015.
I put in my order for late brunch – their special omelette and went for a browse:this was Charing Cross Road come to Temple Fortune; art books and books about football; all very eclectic and a considerable range of remaindered books which always makes browsing interesting; one man’s fish and all that! Or is it the instinct to find the golden nugget (rare book) amongst the dross?
Re-entering the restaurant, I felt very disposed toward the rest of the day.
I ordered a large glass of the 2013 Canaan White from Galilee and encountered a very pleasant,softly spoken white wine; probably a red would have been better with the generous ingredients, cheese, mushroom, tomatoes, spinach and onion. The omelette was served on a heavy (v hot) iron pan and you could really taste the organic in the free range eggs!
I was only having brunch but the menu has invited me back of an evening and indeed again and again for lunch. Cafe Also is an ethical vegetarian/fish restaurant and I cannot praise it enough. I am sure one can find the menu on the cafe website.
I spoke to Ali, the Egyptian Chef and part owner; I asked Ali what was his great passion in life – he said, “Being here.” That was evident in the attitude of all staff.
Before leaving, I “Also” spoke briefly to the fellow proprietor, Michael Joseph; he said he might intend to develop in certain directions, modernise; I said to him, “Don’t change, it’s perfect. It should be a London literary landmark!”
Perhaps it is.
On my way out of what I do hope can remain a time warp, I bumped into Norman Balon, legendary ex-landlord of The Coach and Horses in Soho – indeed for decades a London landmark. We exchanged a bit of talk, I said to him “his” place had changed a lot since his departure. He said, “If you don’t change, you die.”
Maybe I need to think about becoming more trendy?
Solitary Diner Oct 2015
Cafe Also 1255 Finchley Rd NW110AD 02084556890
Also Menu/Fish & Vegetarian www.cafealso.com
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.cafealso.com
Reading the above review has made me want to visit this cafe and bookshop. Soonish. Take a look at their menu! A cafe that serves up innovative fish and vegetarian dishes, with books on the side? Sounds right up my street.