[Photo: trash world]
A place where west is not best: it’s all going on in East Finchley.
Why go there?
For the quiet life. The green spaces offer respite, and there’s a high street worth a damn, where independent shops outnumber chain stores. Said shops showcase some of London’s best puns (Amazing Grates, for all those fireplaces you insist on having made) and some of its most abysmal (pet accessorisers Fetch 22).
Doesn’t quiet just mean dull?
You’ve clearly never been to the Phoenix Cinema (High Road), a not-for-profit one-screen art deco picturehouse boasting intelligently leftfield programming. Or the East Finchley Festival with its real ale, pub bands and giant inflatables. Or gone a bit gaga after supping one of Campbell & Syme’s (Fortis Green) knock-yer-socks-off espressos…
The Bald Faced Stag (High Road) had a refit a year ago and now gives gastropubs a good name. Alternatives include The Old White Lion (Great North Road) and Madden’s (High Road) if you fancy things a bit livelier. Not too lively, though. wouldn’t want to wake the neighbours, who include Steve ‘Phil Mitchell’ McFadden.
Leave it aht!
No, it’s true. And if you’re fortunate, one of the weekly restocks in Alan’s CD and Record Shop (High Road) might throw up a ‘classic’ from former castmates Anita Dobson or Nick Berry, though you’re more likely to find rare reggae, soul and dance – Jarvis Cocker’s a fan.
Interesting. I’m not from Greece, but I do have a thirst for knowledge.
Then Black Gull Books (High Road) is for you, with its idiosyncratic decor and fine selection of reads.
Actually, I could do with some air.
You’ve got two options: get a coat from boutique Aliya J (High Road), then head over to Cherry Tree Wood for a gentle stroll; or pick up some boots from Kokos (High Road) and go for a rugged tramp through Coldfall Wood. If you’ve still got energy, work up some anger on The Bishop’s Avenue, aka Billionaire’s Row: full of palatial architectural carbuncles proving that money can’t buy taste.
Speaking of taste…
Majjo’s (Fortis Green) is a very fine Punjabi restaurant, while on the High Road Bufi offers rustic Italian fare, and Greek eatery Genzo is a solid family-friendly choice. For the Aga-savvy home cooks of N2, the quarterly French market is also worth a look, as is the excellent traditional fishmonger A Scott & Sons.
By Gabriel Tate, who has been known to go for a rugged tramp in the woods.
Fancy a change of scene? Here’s the best bits of Clerkenwell.