The House (Clissold Park Café)
Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, London N16 9HJ
All Stoke Newington was abuzz when the new Clissold Park Café reopened in January 2012 after an absence of more than a year and a multi-million pound makeover. Previously a cheap-and-cheerful egg-and-chips joint, perfect for a fry-up and a cuppa, it made up in community spirit for what it lacked in gastronomic ambition. But now, under the wing of the upmarket Company of Cooks catering firm, it’s more elegant and refined. The setting, in the beautifully refurbished Clissold House mansion, is glorious. You can eat on a small terrace at the front facing the New River and the park’s deer enclosure. Alternatively, you can dine in the pretty interior rooms, which are painted in light Georgian blues and greens, with simple bare-wood floors and sunshine pouring in through long, elegant windows. The food is simple and good, using lots of English produce. The nicest spot of all is the little takeout room on the lower ground floor, where you can grab a coffee (delicious), a baguette and a cake then sit out in the beautifully planted garden, gazing on the elegant spire of St Mary’s Church across the street.