05 May 2021

The Caffeine Chronicles: Craving, Tottenham

Update (June 2023): Unfortunately, Craving has now permanently closed.

Back in the summer of 2018, which now feels like a lifetime ago, I took the Tube up to Tottenham Hale for the launch party for Daniel's 'Succulent Lover' art exhibition at a coffee shop then called Craving Coffee. It was a great night for art, tacos and cocktails, but I arrived too late for coffee, and have been meaning to go back ever since. I finally made it last weekend, although it's now called Craving, and has recently moved across the road in the industrial estate where it's located.

Like many small businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic meant 2020 was particularly challenging, but after a successful crowdfunding campaign, owners Matt and Rachel were able to re-open and re-think. Coffee is very much still on the menu at Craving, but the new name reflects the broader offering, which also includes cocktails, wine and an Asian-fusion food menu. They also have outdoor seating, with large parasols providing some protection from the elements, although I'm glad I visited before the standard Bank Holiday weekend storms set in.

Craving is located in an industrial estate on Markfield Road, a 15-minute walk from Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters Tube stations. You might miss it if you didn't know to look for it, although the number of customers at the tables outside might give you another hint that this cafe warrants further consideration. There were a couple of free tables when I arrived on Saturday lunchtime, so I went straight inside to order.

Although it had been three years since I visited the original Craving Coffee, the layout inside the spacious, new cafe felt quite similar. With high ceilings, pendant lighting and light wood, accented with sage green tiling, the d├ęcor is minimalist and relaxed. There are a couple of small tables along the sides — currently not for customer use given the current COVID-19 restrictions — and then the L-shaped coffee bar that extends back to the kitchen takes up most of the other half of the space.

The coffee is from Climpson & Sons, and although there's usually a single-origin Brazilian coffee in the hopper for espresso-based drinks, they were running low and my piccolo was brewed with the Broadway Blend instead. The coffee, a blend of Colombian and Ethiopian varieties, tasted sweet and fruity with a little milk. The barista also gave me a sample of the single-origin Peruvian coffee that was available as a batch-brew filter coffee (this one, I think), which I liked so much I went back later to get a full-size cup to take away.

As for the food, I was tempted by the ramen and the summer rolls, but eventually ordered the char siu pork banh mi. Did I want a mini omelette on top? Well, why not! I'm not able to eat very spicy foods at the moment, but this dish had just enough kick to it. The pork was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the contrasting flavours and textures of the other ingredients made for a very satisfying lunch. Craving opens late on Friday nights with an extended food menu — you can book a table too, which is probably a good idea, given how popular it is.

After I'd finished, I strolled down to nearby Markfield Park, and then onto the towpath alongside the River Lea, which made for a pleasant walk to Tottenham Hale Tube. The weather wasn't the best for photography, but at least it wasn't raining. Yet. 

Craving. 39B Markfield Road, London N15 4QA (Tube: Tottenham Hale or Seven Sisters). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

For 140+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, please check out my London speciality coffee guide.

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