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Where to Eat When Campaigning in Enfield Southgate

Sustenance for pre-, during, and post-canvassing in the north London constituency

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There are those of a certain age (let’s say 29-30) whose first memory of important news events was the Euro ‘96 finals, then a little bit of a gap, and then Michael Portillo’s face contorted into a conciliatory grimace as he lost Enfield Southgate in the biggest scalp of the ‘97 election (for those who haven’t seen it, it’s on Youtube and it’s still beautiful). The Portillo moment was short-lived and Enfield Southgate was won back before big Charalambos “Bambos” Charalambous became the first MP in the UK with Cypriot parents. Enfield Southgate is defined by its Cypriot restaurants, from Palmers Green to Winchmore Hill through to Cockfosters and Southgate itself, and after a day of canvassing there is surely nothing more satisfying than tucking into a massive gyros or plate of souvlaki. But there’s more to Enfield Southgate than this. Here’s 10 of the best pit stops.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Skewd Kitchen

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Filipino chef Tim de la Cruz and owner Maz Demir put some of the best Turkish food in the city in sleepy Zone 5 punchline Cockfosters. Prices might be a little steeper than Harringay but that extra money goes into impeccable sourcing. The basics are all done well, particularly the adana dripping with lamb fat, but the heart of the menu is the specials where de la Cruz is given license to play with the boundaries of Turkish food with his inventive, seasonal combinations.

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Deserie

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Expectedly the busiest restaurant in Cockfosters, Deserie is a legend of the north London Greek/Cypriot food scene with its extensive menu of mezedakia and grilled meats. The combo souvlakis are boons to those with FOMO but the best items are the huge lamb chops or the expertly grilled fish and octopus which come singed with charcoal.

Karamela

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Cheese pies, flaouna, boureki, spanakopitas, sandwiches and all types of Greek and Cypriot bread can be found at this little Oakwood bakery close to Oakwood station. Best of all are the little bullet shaped koubes that crack with bulgur wheat, and Karamela’s can be found at pretty much every Cypriot wedding across north London.

Andy’s Kebab House

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Kinder days saw celebs trekking all the way to Vrisaki in Bowes Park to be seen eating their endless meze, but the Oakwood outpost called Andy’s couldn’t be more utilitarian. They’ve left out the meze and the atmosphere and cut straight to the grilled meat: three kinds of souvlaki, soft pillows of minced lamb and offal sheftalia wrapped in caul fat, or Flintstone sized chunks of lamb souvla, slow-cooked over charcoal until it slips from the bone at the merest prompt.

Kouzina Express

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The old- and new-school of London’s Cypriot and mainland Greek cuisines are fused together on the menu of Kouzina. One side of the menu lists sheftalia with blackened crusts of caul fat and grilled pork souvlaki, a mixed grill wrapped in expansive Cypriot pita. On the other, the lesser seen Greek gyros, with crisp shaved pork, tzatziki, and flatbread to be squeezed. And of course, chips on top. Can’t decide? Get both. 

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Dionysus

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One of the main stipulations of any city with a Greek population is that it absolutely has to contain at least one restaurant called Dionysus. London’s is located just south of Southgate station, with a compact menu of grills and two spits of lamb and chicken souvla. Get the avgolemoni, a comforting chicken soup made with egg and lemon, to keep away the cold after a long day outside.

Dionysus [Official]

Aroma Patisserie

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Reeling through the entire spectrum of Cypriot baked goods from lounza sandwiches and halloumi village bread through to spanakopita and unending combinations of pistachio baklava, Aroma is one of the city’s best Cypriot bakeries. Quality is generally excellent if freshly baked and two things stand out as must-orders: first try koubes stuffed with sticky, herby pork, and make sure to finish with loukoumades, drenched balls of fried dough sweetened with clove and cinnamon infused honey.

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Marina The Greek

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Interestingly one of the few Palmers Green restaurants that’s mainland Greek rather than Cypriot, Marina does a roaring trade in gyros. Here pork is stacked on a spit in a similar way to Mexican ‘al pastor’ and shaved off, wrapped in fluffy pitta (texturally a world away from stiffer Cypriot or Turkish versions) and stuffed with salad, sauces and — most pleasurably, sinfully of all — fresh chips. A regular portion costs £4: a lunch of kings. Oh and they do grilled kokoretsi (lamb offal stuffed into intestine) if you catch them on a good day.

Nissi Restaurant

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Every Cypriot restaurant in Palmers Green does more takeaway than sit in business except Nissi which is even harder to get into on a Friday night than Dishoom. The speciality here is mezedakia — small dishes which can either be ordered individually or as part of a set mezedes before gorging on fish and meat. The cooking here is quieter and more refined than at many other restaurants in the area, with more focus on seafood. From the mezedakia try the htipiti (a spicy mix of peppers, chilli and feta), the fried calamari and the grilled octopus, and eschew barbecued meat in favour of souvlaki made from swordfish or gigantic king prawns.

Nissi Restaurant [Official]

Jaaneman Sweet Centre

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Sweet master Nalim Bapodra has spent the last 33 years perfecting the art of mithai, specifically dense fudge-like burfi made with milk, milk powder, and sugar syrup. As the week goes on, the most popular flavours — chocolate, pistachio, and almond — sell out, so try to get there early. Bapodra generously encourages customers to sample, sometimes forcing whole pieces on them in the manner of an eager uncle: Make sure to save room for his more savoury mithai like mohenthal, a grittier sweet made with gram flour and fragrant with saffron.

Skewd Kitchen

Instagram/@skewdkitchen

Filipino chef Tim de la Cruz and owner Maz Demir put some of the best Turkish food in the city in sleepy Zone 5 punchline Cockfosters. Prices might be a little steeper than Harringay but that extra money goes into impeccable sourcing. The basics are all done well, particularly the adana dripping with lamb fat, but the heart of the menu is the specials where de la Cruz is given license to play with the boundaries of Turkish food with his inventive, seasonal combinations.

Instagram/@skewdkitchen

Deserie

Expectedly the busiest restaurant in Cockfosters, Deserie is a legend of the north London Greek/Cypriot food scene with its extensive menu of mezedakia and grilled meats. The combo souvlakis are boons to those with FOMO but the best items are the huge lamb chops or the expertly grilled fish and octopus which come singed with charcoal.

Karamela

Cheese pies, flaouna, boureki, spanakopitas, sandwiches and all types of Greek and Cypriot bread can be found at this little Oakwood bakery close to Oakwood station. Best of all are the little bullet shaped koubes that crack with bulgur wheat, and Karamela’s can be found at pretty much every Cypriot wedding across north London.

Andy’s Kebab House

Kinder days saw celebs trekking all the way to Vrisaki in Bowes Park to be seen eating their endless meze, but the Oakwood outpost called Andy’s couldn’t be more utilitarian. They’ve left out the meze and the atmosphere and cut straight to the grilled meat: three kinds of souvlaki, soft pillows of minced lamb and offal sheftalia wrapped in caul fat, or Flintstone sized chunks of lamb souvla, slow-cooked over charcoal until it slips from the bone at the merest prompt.

Kouzina Express

Facebook/Kouzina Express

The old- and new-school of London’s Cypriot and mainland Greek cuisines are fused together on the menu of Kouzina. One side of the menu lists sheftalia with blackened crusts of caul fat and grilled pork souvlaki, a mixed grill wrapped in expansive Cypriot pita. On the other, the lesser seen Greek gyros, with crisp shaved pork, tzatziki, and flatbread to be squeezed. And of course, chips on top. Can’t decide? Get both. 

Facebook/Kouzina Express

Dionysus

Dionysus [Official]

One of the main stipulations of any city with a Greek population is that it absolutely has to contain at least one restaurant called Dionysus. London’s is located just south of Southgate station, with a compact menu of grills and two spits of lamb and chicken souvla. Get the avgolemoni, a comforting chicken soup made with egg and lemon, to keep away the cold after a long day outside.

Dionysus [Official]

Aroma Patisserie

Instagram/@eatable_eatss

Reeling through the entire spectrum of Cypriot baked goods from lounza sandwiches and halloumi village bread through to spanakopita and unending combinations of pistachio baklava, Aroma is one of the city’s best Cypriot bakeries. Quality is generally excellent if freshly baked and two things stand out as must-orders: first try koubes stuffed with sticky, herby pork, and make sure to finish with loukoumades, drenched balls of fried dough sweetened with clove and cinnamon infused honey.

Instagram/@eatable_eatss

Marina The Greek

Interestingly one of the few Palmers Green restaurants that’s mainland Greek rather than Cypriot, Marina does a roaring trade in gyros. Here pork is stacked on a spit in a similar way to Mexican ‘al pastor’ and shaved off, wrapped in fluffy pitta (texturally a world away from stiffer Cypriot or Turkish versions) and stuffed with salad, sauces and — most pleasurably, sinfully of all — fresh chips. A regular portion costs £4: a lunch of kings. Oh and they do grilled kokoretsi (lamb offal stuffed into intestine) if you catch them on a good day.

Nissi Restaurant

Nissi Restaurant [Official]

Every Cypriot restaurant in Palmers Green does more takeaway than sit in business except Nissi which is even harder to get into on a Friday night than Dishoom. The speciality here is mezedakia — small dishes which can either be ordered individually or as part of a set mezedes before gorging on fish and meat. The cooking here is quieter and more refined than at many other restaurants in the area, with more focus on seafood. From the mezedakia try the htipiti (a spicy mix of peppers, chilli and feta), the fried calamari and the grilled octopus, and eschew barbecued meat in favour of souvlaki made from swordfish or gigantic king prawns.

Nissi Restaurant [Official]

Jaaneman Sweet Centre

Sweet master Nalim Bapodra has spent the last 33 years perfecting the art of mithai, specifically dense fudge-like burfi made with milk, milk powder, and sugar syrup. As the week goes on, the most popular flavours — chocolate, pistachio, and almond — sell out, so try to get there early. Bapodra generously encourages customers to sample, sometimes forcing whole pieces on them in the manner of an eager uncle: Make sure to save room for his more savoury mithai like mohenthal, a grittier sweet made with gram flour and fragrant with saffron.

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