Age: Four or five. At least, since it became the ’Tache, that is. Before that, from the 1970s onwards, it was a rather more basic boozer called The Sovereign. What was an unimpressive 1960s low-rise building has been carefully reinvented with a bit of Farrow & Ball into airy European café with separate pub and restaurant.
Where exactly is it? That’s the question. It’s a little tricky, but if you take a left off Hampstead Road, if approaching from the Euston end, worm your way through the estate to Stanhope Street. It’s a surprising location, but GPS will guide you – and it’s worth the effort.
OK. So, what goes on there? As well as daytime artisan coffee and sweet goodies, there’s a slew of craft beers on tap, good-value wine and a decent food menu. Best of all are the extremely reasonable offers each day of the week. Visit at lunch and you can bag a burger or wrap, salad and soft drink for a tenner; while on Tuesday evenings a burger and fries is just £7.
What should I eat? We were drawn to the evening offer of £25 for two mains and two glasses of house wine (or pints). The menu lists just four options, burgers aside, but the rump steak and chips (normally £15) would be a particularly good option at this price.
Our choices were both hits: a simple halloumi wrap proved an unexpected riot of flavour, with layers of hummus, spinach, sundried tomato and a touch of balsamic. Split in two chunky halves, it sat on a sea of moreish skinny sweet potato fries topped with garlicky aioli. And a boat-sized beer-battered haddock was just as impressive, its white flesh opaque, served with peas, creamy tartare and more chips, convincingly misshapen (and therefore, we hope, hand-cut in house).
The interior: discuss. It’s a masterclass in divvying up a difficult spot. From the outdoor terrace by the main entrance, lined with bushes, you step straight into the café, with its open kitchen, coffee machine, juicer and cake-covered counter. There are primary coloured walls – all green, orange and purple – and airy windows with simple wooden furniture, pendant lights and a long banquette. In the pub proper it’s all curved orange banquettes, traditional pub tables, a bit of turquoise panelling and a polished wooden floor.
Outside? The enclosed courtyard garden is on multiple levels to soak up the sun at varying times of day. Take a pew by the ivy-covered brick walls and trellises, with views up to the sand-coloured blocks of flats set against deep blue skies (at least on our visit). And don’t miss the railing that goes right through a tree trunk.
What do I drink? We ordered 175mls of decent-enough house red, part of the meal deal (and £4.50 a further glass). The craft beer game is strong however, from local King’s Cross brewery Two Tribes to the White Mustache’s own lager with a bit of Brooklyn in between. You can also get a tasting board of three thirds for a fiver.
What’s the service like? Knowledgeable, friendly and extremely swift, which made the food’s deliciousness surprise even further.
Do say: ‘Two steak and chips plus two glasses of wine for £25? No way!’
Don’t say: ‘It’s where?’