AA Gill’s piece on Dishoom is brilliant reading, especially towards the end where he notes how a pastiche of the Iranian cafes of Mumbai have replaced the greasy spoons of this country.

“I hope in Bombay someone, even now, is planning an English-style workman’s caff with lino and Formica tabletops, old copies of The Racing Post and The Sun”.

It’s a typical Gill read, equally amusing and provocative in its subject matter of why, here in Blighty, we’ll take the colonial cafes of India, the Melbourne coffee rooms, or the horrid dinner-for-breakfast sunny-side-down-with-a-side-of-triple-bypass American diners. And yet, there’s no need to travel to Bombay for the ode to the working class cafe for there is one in the very much middle class area of Tufnell Park under the name of Norman’s.

My phone goes beserk when I post a picture of being outside. One Michelin starred chef says it his favourite place in London, whilst another simply describes it as as “the best”. I’m called a fucker and a bastard, which may or may not be related to eating here, and at least ten others tell me it’s on their list. Perhaps it’s the perfectly manicured Instagram page of classics like triffle and chip butty’s and breakfast sticks with bacon tongues, yolk dribbles and whatever-the-fuck people on Instagram use these days to describe food. Maybe that it is a cafe with Formica tables and Heinz ketchup, though a cafe that also has an excellent hip-hop playlist and only takes card payment, therefore excluding the working class customers from the same working class culture they extract from.

I had a negroni. Of course I did. It was terrible; out of sync and overly diluted. I also had the fried chicken sandwich, served on shit English processed sliced loaf. Of course it was. The chicken is quite good, brined, and crispy, with the plasticky Red Leicester slices and a spicy mayo that is many things but spicy. Sophie gets the set breakfast two; scrambled eggs that aren’t going to threaten The Wolsley anytime soon, bubble without any squeak, toast, grilled tomato, a hash brown out of a bag that’s been deep fried, and beans, nice enough, but not beans as you know it. These have sauced the bottom of the plate like they’ve transitioned from North London cafe to Parisian bistro. A plate passes me with ham, eggs and chips. I should have ordered that.

Under the guise of a very mild hangover, I get my ham, egg, and chips the following day at Max’s Sandwich Shop, a couple of miles away in Crouch Hill. The clue is in the title, but my fillings are between two fat slices of focaccia; some braised ham hock, two fried eggs, potato straws, and an extremely good piccalilli. I also get a negroni, an impeccably well made negroni from someone who knows what a negroni tastes like. My sandwich is fantastic, as is Sophie’s, hers having poached chicken and Caesar salad flavours with a grape and tarragon salsa that adds loads of fresh acidity. It’s all thought-out and brilliantly executed and crucially doesn’t take itself seriously (signed cookbooks are seventeen quid, unsigned are twenty). As with Norman’s the queue upon leaving is heaving with others waiting to get in. I’d join one of those again. I think you know which one.

Norman’s 6/10

Max’s Sandwich Shop 9/10

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