Monkey Nuts – Crouch End

Reviewed on March 21st, 2012 by Dina

Ever since Pick More Daisies closed down in Crouch End, I’ve always ventured further afield for brunch. That is until now; now that Monkey Nuts has been discovered!

Don’t get me wrong, I have been to Monkey Nuts a few times before. But it has always been for drinks in their cosy sofa bar area.

Monkey Nuts has a big glass fronted entrance which makes the restaurant feel very light and airy. There is the dining area at the front of the restaurant and another towards the back. Even though we were seated just by the entrance, we didn’t feel the draft of the door and the outside air.

Sunday brunch consisted of tea and eggs on toast. Toasted triangles of granary bread topped with softly scrambled eggs and individual butter portions on the side. The tea was served by the mug. The Teapigs chocolate tea was a good choice.

The cousins decided to go for a savoury and a sweet option. Both equally satisfying and all the portions were of a big size. The Grilled Chicken Macho Nacho Burger was made up of chargrilled chicken, nachos, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, onions, lettuce, jalapenos and tomato sauce. A steak knife was definitely needed to tackle into this big burger. The side of french fries was good too.

The French Toast were soft, fluffy, thick bread slices lightly fried with cinnamon. They were topped with the healthy option of apples, berries and greek yoghurt.

The staff and service were great. We received service with a smile! There was a fantastic range of music playing in the background, from current tracks to some older ones. It was the type of music that definitely added to the relaxed Sunday atmosphere.

Monkey Nuts now seems to be a new local favourite, especially for a weekend brunch.

Monkey Nuts, 2 Park Road, Crouch End, London, N8 8TD

Rating: ★★★★★

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Bouga – Crouch End

Reviewed on January 24th, 2012 by Dina

Entering through the grand entrance of Bouga makes you feel like you’ve been taken into a whole new world! There are the colourful lanterns hanging from the ceiling, welcoming sofas and chairs with scattered cushions and little alcoves displaying various ornaments.

On this occasion, we were seated on the ground level, near the bar. Bouga also has an upper level with an equal amount of wooden and cosy seating.

A lovely start to our meal was some fresh mint tea. Bouga did have variations on the mint tea such as mint and roasted almond tea, but we had the plain one this time. A tall silver teapot contained the tea and we were served the tea in small painted glasses.

For the starters, the classic falafel were great. These falafel were made from chickpeas and broad beans. They were lovely and moist with a crispy outer.

Another starter was the vegetarian kibbeth. This was the first time that I had tried these and they had to be my favourite! The oval shaped kibbeth were similar to the falafel but were made from cracked wheat and pumpkin. They were filled with spiced spinach and onion.

The halloumi meshoue were grilled slices of halloumi on salad leaves, tomatoes and olives. We were also given a big bowl of salad to accompany our meal. The warm flat bread was light, fresh and hot, straight from the oven!

First we were accidentally given the kibbe lamhe which was the lamb version of the kibbeth. As soon as we cut into it and realised that it was meat, we let the staff know. The staff were really professional and apologised about the mix up and swiftly brought us our vegetarian kibbeth.

The wonderful, tasty, melt in the mouth, chunks of tender aubergine, tomatoes and onion made up my main dish of moussaka. It was delicately spiced and went well with the side of saffron rice. I was glad that this moussaka was more like a vegetable stew compared to a cheesy topped baked aubergine dish. This portion could have easily served two people!

Surprisingly, even though the pumpkin tagine contained apricots and figs, it was not overly sweet. There were plenty of soft cubes of steamed pumpkin and it was a hearty dish. The tagine was served with couscous and was brought to the table in the traditional tagine cooking vessel.

One of my friends had the mixed grill. This was a selection of lamb chops, lamb fillet, chicken cubes with a dome of saffron rice in the middle. It did not disappoint and would be perfect for any person fancying some barbecued meat!

The staff were really nice and friendly and it felt like they valued our custom. They made sure that everything was ok with our meal.

Bouga provides great food, great service in a lovely atmospheric environment!

Bouga, 1 Park Road, Crouch End, London, N8 8TE

Rating: ★★★★★

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Coffee Cake – Crouch End

Reviewed on March 6th, 2009 by Dina

The displays of all the fresh sourdough breads, pastries, cakes, salads and quiches in the front of this cafe are very attractive. Each corner of the display has big baskets of meringues!

But again, this is one of those cafes where all the food is not covered and it is open to all the customers walking in. It is a real shame as all of Coffee Cake’s products looks really freshly made/baked and of a very high quality. I’m not sure if the food was self service or if customers were supposed to be served by the staff. There were no signs up indicating either.

Coffee Cake interiorCoffee CakeCoffee Cake salad display

Coffee Cake does breakfast items, a big range of smoothies and the usual menu of hot drinks. The green tea was served by the pot.

The staff were friendly and were accommodating when I mentioned that it was a little cold in the cafe. They switched off the air conditioning and closed the main door. Coffee Cake has opted for white plastic chairs and tables; a contrast to the dark wooden floors and brick walls.

Coffee Cake is a nice cafe to come and have a hot or cold drink and I would definitely have had some of their food, if it had been covered. The cafe was quiet when I was there, as it was the earlier part of the day. There was a radio playing in the background but it wasn’t too loud at all.

Coffee Cake, 28 Broadway Parade, Crouch End, London, N8 9DB

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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