Sunday 15 April 2012

A Swedish Evening at The Haberdashery

I first noticed that The Haberdashery was a little different from the other coffee houses in our new London area of Crouch End because of this sign:

It says, 'Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten.' I chuckled to myself all the way home - it was such a refreshing and funny sign I knew I had to visit the cafe next time I was shopping in Middle Lane.

So, a few weekends later, the Englishman and I stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat at The Haberdashery and found that we had - together with the rest of the area - fallen in love with this little quirky place serving fantastic coffee, salads, home made breads and cakes. There was just the one table free, and soon there was a queue outside.

Nothing at the Haberdashery is boring or ugly: even the loo has a design statement with the light cord adorned with a large roll of thread; the breads are served in small clay flower pots; the hot chocolate in tiny pudding basins; the food on vintage mismatched dishes. And in the background there's music from old vinyls.

When Massimo at the cafe told us about their plans to start a monthly supper club, we immediately booked the last table for a Swedish evening. That was two weeks ago.

Before this Friday, the day of the Swedish supper, I wondered if a small coffee place could pull off a full evening of food and fun, and whether the predominantly day-time venue would lend itself to night-time. But I shouldn't have worried; even from the outside the Haberdashery looked magical in the twilight. The tables were adorned with vintage coffee cups, inside of which little tea lights flickered. A string of fairy lights mingled with the bunting.

Massimo serving the drinks.

The atmosphere was very jolly and festive. 

As soon as we sat down we were offered a glass of Prosecco - not very Swedish, I know, but the welcome drink set the celebratory mood for the evening.

And the food didn't disappoint either. For me it was a little like a busman's holiday, as you know if you've read my blog before, I lived in Sweden as a child and both my mother and sister still live in Stockholm, so I'm no stranger to Swedish cuisine.

The menu on Friday was very much 'Husmanskost', or everyday Swedish food. We started with home cured Gravad Lax and Toast Skagen. The salmon was absolutely delicious, not too dry or overly salty, and the crayfish tails in a sauce of mayonnaise and creme fraiche in the Toast Skagen were just lemony and creamy enough. The fresh dill, scattered everywhere, brought memories of summers spent on the Åland Islands. Lovely.

Gravad Lax and Toast Skagen

Home made delicious bread with butter served in a sweet vintage pate jar.
The second course evoked my childhood even more: Lindström's Biff (minced beef with beetroot) was a staple in our home. This one was juicy and very tasty and came with Hasselbackspotatis - a finely sliced potato roasted in the oven with butter. All very filling, but so very nice. 

Lindström's Biff and Haselbackspotatis.
Next we had another fish course, this time fried herring with creamy mashed potatoes. Again this was a fine Husmanskost dish, but by this stage we were all so full up that we really couldn't do the dish justice.

Fillet of herring with creamy potato mash. 
And there were still puddings to contend with...the Kladdkaka, a chocolate mud cake, was intensely chocolaty, but I was so full of food I could only just have a little taste of it. As I considered asking for a doggie bag, a further pudding of rhubarb and yogurt arrived. This was the perfect end to the meal - it was refreshing and not too sweet. I just wish I'd left a little more room in my tummy for the final piece de resistance of this excellent first supper club evening at The Haberdashery.

Rhubarb 'fool'.
Oh, and the wines were very good too - I had a few glasses of fruity Pino Grigio which suited all the dishes very well. To help the pudding go down better I ordered a glass of Prosecco to finish the evening off with a flourish. A decision which I regretted the next morning when I woke with a slightly heavy head. Oh well, a good time was had by us all. And as my mother says, 'Nobody died.' (I often wonder what she'd say if some did die, but that's another conversation - or blog).

Now I cannot wait for the next culinary evening at The Haberdashery, which will be a Croatian feast. We were promised smaller helpings, and I will try to drink less wine. (A fat chance...).

The next supper club at The Haberdashery is on May 11th. It's very good value at £35.00 for a five-course meal including a glass of Prosecco, but the evenings get booked up very quickly, so hurry.

The Haberdashery
Eatery, Coffe House and Old Vinyls
22 Middle Lane
Crouch End 
London N8 8PL
020 8342 8098 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am just up the hill in Muswell Hill and a friend mentioned this place to me just the other day, your review has definitely made me want to visit :)