Sitting between boisterous Green Lanes and café-laden Crouch End, Harringay’s Wightman Road has very few options for places to eat and drink. So it was a clever move by Kevin Vanthem, Moka’s young Mauritian owner, to convert a dry-cleaners’ into a café on the approach to Harringay rail station with its quiet but steady stream of commuters and mummies with buggies.
The café is now light and airy, divided into a main room, open-plan kitchen and a tranquil courtyard at the back. Woods of different textures and colours dominates, with a mix of vintage furniture – more Habitat in its heyday than bric-a-brac – creating a warm interior.
Moka takes things slowly. In the opening weeks the menu was still a succinct choice of just four dishes. A couple of freshly-made tarts (buttery pastry with properly wobbly fillings, such as languidly sweet caramelised onions with three types of cheeses); a jacket potato; bruschetta on artisanal soughdough, plus a plate of pasta with seasonal veg for kids. If you want breakfast, there is granola yoghurt or scrambled eggs with a selection of oven-roasted tomatoes, mushrooms an, on the weekend, sausages and bacon – 10am-11.30am only, though.
There are more sweet options on offer, some own-made, such as Kevin’s bread and butter pudding with marmalade and chocolate served with a lush helping of cream and brownies with walnuts (made with quality dark chocolate that adds welcome bitterness). Other baked goods, such as muffins and crusty sourdough, are from a local artisan baker (loaves are sold at weekends).