Not quite Stoke Newington, Highbury, nor Dalston, and a muddle of N1, N5 and N16, one could be forgiven for thinking Newington Green an irrelevant intersection between more tangible neighbourhoods. Forgiven perhaps, but wrong. This small area of north London has been a home for medieval heavyweights such as Henry Percy and Thomas Cromwell, a sanctuary for literary greats like Samuel Pepys and Daniel Defoe and, perhaps most significantly, a breeding ground for dissident intellectuals and social reformers: The Unitarian Church to the north of the green is relatively unremarkable to look at, but was a key influence on, among others, pioneering feminist thinker, author and school mistress Mary Wollstonecraft. Admittedly none of those individuals left a deep culinary legacy, however the locale is now well served by a mix of Turkish-Cypriot community establishments, modern café culture, and free-thinking, independent restaurateurs. Plus, in Newington Green Fruit and Vegetables, it’s also home to one of London’s best and fairest-priced suppliers of fresh produce.Read More
12 Great Places That Make Newington Green the Ideal Dining Neighbourhood
The neighbourhood has a rich history of doing things differently — its restaurants continue the tradition
London N5 2RT, UK
Situated on Petherton Road, a wide tree-lined avenue between Newington Green and Highbury, the elder sibling of the acclaimed Western’s Laundry is surely one of London’s most appealing restaurants for a sunny summer’s evening; when rolled back, its ex-motor garage doors allow golden rays to bathe the convivial room. There’s a certain nonchalance to Primeur’s take on Franglish bistronomy, though that appears based on the knowledge that their low-intervention wines and the food on offer are quality — deceptively simple small plates of lamb consommé and spring vegetables; onglet, onions and wet garlic; grey mullet, olive oil and lemon.
2. Feest at the Greenhouse N16
This unexpectedly cavernous greenhouse-like arena at the bottom of Green Lanes is included here partly for the benefit of freelancers: for those ready to commit, there is a co-working space at which you can book regular time; others can sit in the cafe space and benefit from a relatively industrious vibe/settle down to an hour or two of Facebook and Instagram once they’ve ordered from the industrious kitchen. There are nourishing salads and freshly made sandwiches as standard, Kilner jars of housemade ferments suggest they mean business, and the daily specials board is worth looking to for seasonal and weather appropriate curries, soups and stews.
3. Antepliler Baklava Salonu
Those familiar with the northern end of Green Lanes will know the Antepliler name through this enterprise’s Haringey-based Restaurant, Doner grill and Kunefe bar. An eponymously titled baklava-focused satellite at the southern end of the road might not bustle and hum in the same way as the other sites, but is certainly of note. Both exterior and interior are modest — hidden behind perspex shields are seven or eight trays of masterful baklava, all of which hit that sweet spot between textured and sticky, sweet but not sickly. There’s a coffee machine too. Sometimes it works.
4. 01 Adana Restaurant
London N16 9BS, UK
A decent all-rounder for those wishing to enjoy an authentic Turkish grill without making the (short) trip to better known ocakbasi restaurants in Dalston or Haringey. 01 Adana is cavernous and can be quiet, but they do a good line in freshly baked gozleme, pide and lahmacun, as well as the full, fire-cooked range of lamb chops, adana (sumac-seasoned, minced lamb kebab), halep (spicy minced lamb kebab) and beyti (lamb or chicken kebabs wrapped in lavash) with generous servings of salads, rice and flatbread. Liver, kidney or Cypriat sheftalia shish options are available for the adventurous.
5. Belle Epoque Patisserie
Next to the Unitarian Church on the north side of the green, Belle Epoque is a classic French café, delicatessen and bakery. Quiches, filled baguettes and typically French salads (goat’s cheese, nicoise, chicken) are all fine, but the patisserie is a few levels beyond that. When it opened in 2002, everything was baked in the basement. Now, with a second location on Upper Street and a counter at Selfridges, production is ‘centralised’ elsewhere. The switch from quirky local bakery to pro kitchen shouldn’t deter, though, as glossy, highly decorated mini-tarts catch the eye and taste as good as they look, and classic lemon, pistachio and apricot tarts at the counter never disappoint.
Redefining what it means to be a ‘neighbourhood restaurant’, Perilla offers an inventive, contemporary and refined spin on seasonal British cooking. Diners can choose from a relatively succinct daily changing menu (octopus bolognese; cultured cream and roasted nut soup served in a burnt onion; grilled and pressed radicchio with blood orange and sheeps curd) or go all-in for the four course plus snacks set menu of the day (£44). It’s proper, near fine dining, but in a relaxed setting, and appears to have gone from strength to strength since opening in late autumn 2016.
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7. Lizzy's On The Green
Newington Green’s best coffee is found on the green itself, in a kiosk. Bittersweet and black-cherried Alchemy beans should provide a draw to caffeine aficionados, while the smoked creamed corn and jalapeños on toast, fish finger sandwiches and cakes baked on site each day are reason to shun takeaway and instead stay and eat; there are a decent number of tables and chairs on the shaded decking.
Jolene follows Westerns Laundry and Primeur, both from David Gingell and Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim. It iterates on those restaurants’ principles while bringing something new to what they have accreted — lightly-worn, plainly-spoken hospitality. That approach manifests in a scrawly blackboard menu, long on assemblies of good ingredients exchanging sideways glances: pork and green sauce, buttermilk and plums, ravioli and sage butter. Continental Europe stakes an assertive claim, with exceptional crisp, buttery croissants, palmiers, madeleines, charcuterie, anchovies, and cheeses featuring heavily. So too does a shrewd, brisk list of natural wine.
9. Acoustic Brasserie
Twelve years ago, Acoustic Brasserie (née Cafe) was a bit of a brunch find — with a menu featuring mounds of smashed avocado and feta on toast, remarkably consistent variations on poached eggs and hollandaise on muffins, Turkish eggs with sucuk and flatbreads, and a pretty serviceable full English. All that might now be a bit vanilla, but the Acoustic benefits from an enviable morning sun trap and remains a dependable and crowd pleasing weekend spot. Acoustic has recently opened a second location on Stoke Newington Church Street.
This charming Galician restaurant describes itself as ‘gastro-cultural’; reflecting, perhaps, their relatively frequent hosting of winemakers dinners, and occasional flamenco nights. Tapas, which generally range between £5 and £15, are a step beyond patatas bravas and palid boquerones — think wild sea bass on black rice with seasonal greens; Iberian secreto pork with turnip tops; and superior platters of cured meats. The £18 weekday lunch menu is worth noting, particularly on a warm day when the restaurant spills out onto the sun trap of a pavement shared with the Acoustic Cafe.
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11. Oivita Pizzeria
There are a couple of pizzeria/trattoria type restaurants on the edges of the green, but this relative newcomer, a short stroll to the south, is the best of the lot. Neapolitan-style pizzas tick the wood-fired, blistered and puffed edged, sloppy floppy middle boxes, while toppings are traditional and service genial. A pizzaiolo can be judged by the quality of his Napolitana — and Oi Vita’s is pretty good, with just the right number of quality capers and anchovies cutting through a sweet, if perhaps overly generous, tomato base. That said, the fresh Italian sausage and egg finished Uovo is also worth a look. Small, rustic, independent.
12. Salvation in Noodles
Described as a ‘Dalston’ site, but a restaurant that Newington Green should claim its own, Salvation in Noodles is an excellent modern Vietnamese restaurant, currently operating delivery only. It’s pretty much mandatory to order phu quoc (fish sauce and garlic tossed fried chicken wings) as a starter to share. After that, pho ga (chicken) and bun rieu (crab soup with prawns, pork belly and crab and pork dumplings) stand out among the aromatic fresh noodles soups, while bun nem nuong (pork patties with cold rice vermicelli salad) is a contender for best dish — the base a refreshing mix of sweet, sour, salty, crunchy and cooling.
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