Stroud Green is a-changing, mainly due to the fabulous selection independent shops that have taken up position. Walking down the Stroud Green Road is a completely different experience to when I used to commute into the City; back then it was more a case of “eyes down and walk quickly” but now the ambiance is one of meandering and looking. I could feel the positive vibe as we walked down to try out WALNUT, a new restaurant that has transformed a dark, empty unit at the end of the John Jones Building, into a scene of foodie brilliance.
Me, myself & I also known as Bex, Al & Monty went along to sample brunch on a wonderfully sunny morning. The menu was short and sweet but with such a great selection it was still difficult to choose. Eventually decisions were made and Al picked home-made fish finger sandwich with tartare sauce and rocket which nestled in toasted sourdough and came with a side of WALNUT slaw. The fish-fingers are made with hake that comes fresh from her St Ives based fishmonger, Celtic Fish and Game, a family run business who use day boats for their supplies and courier into London five days a week. Hake has a delicate flavour which could have easily been overwhelmed but it came sparkling through with each bite. Monty plumped for the stack of pancakes with Dingley Dell bacon and maple syrup on the side. He declared the pancakes were “the best I’ve eaten” which was a sock in the eye for his chef-dad! I opted for the Chuck & Rib Cheeseburger with WALNUT slaw. The burger, made by an Essex based butcher who sources his beef from Dedham Vale, was seasoned well, lovingly cooked and rested before serving, ensuring that it was juicy and tender to the bite. As I am partial to a dollop of mayo the WALNUT slaw was sharper than I would choose, however my Parmesan and truffle chips were delicious and I had to smack a lot of hands away to stop my pile from diminishing! After a short rest, we finished off by sharing a yummy piece of (gluten free) dark chocolate brownie that was suitably gooey with a crispy top.
WALNUT is run by chef-owner is Emma Duggan who lives just up the road with her partner and Sid the Boxer. Emma has been cooking for 25 years and has worked alongside Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett and Oliver Peyton. She describes her food as “Good, simple and seasonal” and it that’s exactly what it is. WALNUT is open for breakfast and lunch and offers eat-in or take-out. In the evening the café becomes a cosy dining room with a more traditional three-course menu.
With prices ranging from a fiver to the teens, there’s a lot of good grub for your money and it comes with a warm welcome and a massive dollop of fantastic service from Emma and her team!
The Arts Building, Morris Place
Finsbury Park N4 3JG
020 7263 5289