By Aobh O’Brien-Moody
A quick peek into Norman’s Café and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just another greasy spoon.
Red gingham curtains? Check. Glass bottles of Heinz ketchup and HP Sauce on each table? Check. Checkerboard lino flooring? Check.
But this Tufnell Park spot is something rather unique. It’s polished, yet also proudly unsophisticated. It’s forward-thinking, yet old-fashioned. You can get a negroni and a chip butty. Opened in November 2020 by Elliot Kaye and Richie Hayes – who cut their teeth at the likes of Lyle’s, The Clove Club, Crispin and Leroy – Norman’s quickly garnered a reputation (and healthy social media following) for its elevated comfort food classics and ‘70s-inspired minimalist décor.
The Junction Road joint sits unassumingly between an off-licence and an upholstery shop. Despite being miles from London’s more typical foodie hot spots, the capital’s hungry & hungover make the pilgrimage and queue for a coveted seat at one of the formica tables.
And it’s easy to see why. Nostalgic greasy spoon staples that recall simpler times are chalked up on a blackboard. A fiver will get you cheesy beans on toast, a bacon sarnie or porridge. There are also satisfying fry-ups, with combinations of classic components such as Cumberland sausages, eggs, bubble and squeak, homemade baked beans, and chips. All served with a coffee or builder’s tea.
At lunch time, things are taken a step further. A chicken escalope sandwich, fish & chips, and a chip butty are offered alongside a rotating series of specials, such as kedgeree and chicken and leek pie. Consult Norman’s satisfyingly aesthetic Instagram grid for perfect shot-from-above photos of each of the tantalising options.
And to drink? Norman’s might have all the hallmarks of an old-school caff, but its short list of low intervention wines and aperitivos roots it firmly in 2022. There are also cans of Stella and Kronenbourg in the fridge. Alongside juice boxes, for good measure.
If you thought the great British caff was dead, think again. Norman’s is reinstating the glory of the greasy spoon, one fry-up at a time.
NOTE: Norman’s is open daily (except Tuesdays). As you’ve probably guessed, there are no reservations. You can find out more at their website right here.
Norman’s | 167 Junction Road, Tufnell Park, N19 5PZ
Looking for more greasy spoons? Well, we don’t have any. But we do have the best breakfasts in London.