5 things you should eat at Somers Town Coffee House

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It’s risen from the ashes after a fire blazed through its roof this summer. Time for some community support


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Somers Town Coffee House
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Despite the scaffolding that will be in situ for a whole twelve months, while historic pub the Somers Town Coffee House is restored to former glory after July’s fire, it still boasts a west-facing terrace out front, one of the few in the area that soaks up the rays from lunchtime to sunset.

The building dates back to 1927, although the original pub, located a little further south down the street, was built in the 18th century, a popular haunt of foreign visitors, with coffee served in “Parisian style”.

Fast forward to 2018 and the dark-panelled interior is spacious enough to find a table – they host supper clubs upstairs with all manner of secret rooms – and there’s even a dimly-lit speakeasy called the Cosy Kettle downstairs. There are real ale handpulls, cider and the bigger name craft beers too on keg – although the choice isn’t as exciting as, say, the Euston Tap.

Rays shine on the terrace from lunchtime to sunset. Photo: SE
We pop by on a breezy but sunny Thursday lunchtime (the day before the awful fire, in fact). At lunch there are sandwiches, fish and chips, ribs, veggie and meat-based burgers, but their USP is what they call ‘British tapas’, around twenty small plates of varying cuisines, all apparently waving a Union Jack flag.

The menu advises two to three dishes per person (at £4-£6); we settle on six between two. They make an admirable companion to a mellow bottle of pale pink Provence (£21).

While the terrace is undoubtedly the best place to soak up rays in Euston, at points it’s so hot we actually need to change tables: maybe worth investing in some parasols, guys? And despite being the only customers eating, service is leisurely, although staff are fairly matey, which at least makes up for it.

If you want the terrace to yourself, eat after 2pm on a weekday; by 4pm it’s full with office workers. And if it’s too windy out front, try the back garden.

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5 to try

Twenty small plates of varying cuisines. Photo: SE

Shiitake ‘snails’

These very textural mushrooms are known for their health-giving properties, with at least ten times the smoky flavour of the regular button variety. They’re served in a cute cast iron skillet, swimming in a slick of buttery, garlicky oil, with thyme, parsley and lemon to break through the richness. Accompanying charcoal crostinis prove worthy vessels to scoop the slippery buggers up with.

Prawn kedgeree

Less fishy than we assumed it would be, this colourful bright yellow dish is piled with pearl barley, the odd prawn and mussel, and a golden-yolked poach egg.

Mackerel

A cold plate of slender fillet is all peppery umami flavours; it’s further improved by a crown of curling, marinated strips of cucumber, lemon, dill and blob of crème fraiche. Refreshing.

Scotch egg

The yolks perfectly orange, this is one of the pub’s signature snacks: a mix of sausage and black pudding from Linfields in Sussex, a light breadcrumb shell and tangy dollop of piccalilli, that oddly English take on South East Asian spices.

Beetroot rosti

A surprise: these crispy oval patties comprise strips of the earthy root veg bound with horseradish and butterbeans into little veggie burgers (baked not fried). They sit on whipped goat’s cheese just when you think you’re doing ‘healthy.’ Oh well. It is summer, after all.

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The above lunch for two with a bottle of wine is about £50, 60 Chalton Street NW1, more here.

Main image: Stephen Emms


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