Last Sunday morning I was lucky enough to find myself visiting London. Unfortunately as with so many other Sunday mornings I was not lucky enough to find myself hangover free! Alas- such are the predicaments of a well embraced weekend away! Hangovers for many of us who are not abstemious enough to go without wine at the weekend are almost just an accepted factor of enjoying ourselves. We hate them but we build up defences against them- most of these defences involving junk food. Everyone has a different cure- a fry up, leftover pizza, lashings of buttery toast and copious amounts of caffeine. I am not dissimilar in this regard. However this last Sunday I took on a slightly different approach to bring me back to life. I managed to find a charming little café which eliminated both the need for post-drinking junk food and my hangover! An excellent duo!
The café of choice was Hot Pepper Jelly in Crouch End, which came about through the recommendation of a London based friend. A tip I was thankful for! The café inside is small without being poky and busy without being overcrowded. The interior is sort of wooden with warm colours, creating a relaxed and cosy feel. The crowd here is mixed, showing the range of people the choices here lure in, yet I do feel that the majority were there for a similar reason as I was- a hangover fix, yet a healthy one.
After much of my habitual indecisiveness over the menu I eventually chose the H.L.T.G – a new interesting cousin of the famous B.L.T. The letters of this sandwich stand for the perfectly composed pairings of grilled halloumi, lettuce, tomato and slightly spiced guacamole. You can choose different types of bread for the sandwich- a good thing in the choppy waters of the current day bread game. Should I treat myself to some white bread? Is wholegrain okay? Should I just go gluten free? For me the choice was easy enough- the denial of good old-fashioned gluten filled bread when hungover is just cruel. So I chose the seeded granary baguette- generous but with a nourishing feel to it. The sandwich provided me with exactly what I needed- saltiness from the halloumi, vitamins from the tomato and a bit of a kick to wake me up from the guacamole- all rounded off in the comfort of a baguette. While the coffee looked great, I kept it simple and just ordered tea. It was loose leaf tea which came in an adorable little pot and was good and strong- I usually find tea ordered in cafés can be a little bit on the disappointingly weak side, but not this one.
As someone who is often conflicted by making choices in a café (I want to try everything!) I do feel that I picked a winner. Yet- there were many other competitors on the menu. Some of them include all day breakfasts- with many vegetarian and vegan options and also Mexican and American breakfast choices. The café goes well beyond breakfast too- there are salads, soups, sandwiches and cakes/ baked goods (with vegan options). As a big peanut butter fan something which really drew my attention was the peanut butter and chilli jam combinations. This unusual sounding pairing can be found in different parts of the menu- as part of a sandwich with optional cheese or meat – or even more appealing The Hot Pepper Jelly Shortbread with Peanut butter. If I am ever lucky enough to get back here I know what I am trying! All in all, this café is well worth a visit- good value, nice location, but most importantly the food is exactly what you want on a Sunday morning- I’m still dreaming of that hangover killing and beautiful sandwich.