Maison d'Etre

Restaurants, Coffeeshops Canonbury
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The cosy new Maison d’Etre is filling the coffee shop void that starts where Upper Street ends. Its diminutive space is in the nostalgic/quaint mould of several recent openings: vintage crockery, pre-loved furniture, flat whites.

Still, it manages its own little clins d’oeils. In the corner there’s an old-school record player, which, on our visit, jangled away with a Beach Boys album; tables are dotted with own-made strawberry jam (in jars), and paintings by local artists are hung on the walls.

Food-wise, it’s back to more standard fare. Lightly toasted sourdough sandwiches are made with bread from Paul Rhodes bakery. There’s a small selection of cakes and tarts as well as granola and brioche for breakfast.

A crusty sarnie of proscuitto cotto with cheddar and own-made tomato chutney was generously sized, yet not totally convincing. The sweet, raisin-loaded tomato chutney overpowered the melted cheddar and subtle cooked ham to such an extend that the latter could only be distinguished from its texture.

Miniature tarts are quite pricey at £2 a pop, and fail to justify the price-tag. A lemon tart was disappointing: more like a shortbread topped with a thin layer of lemon curd. Pecan tart was a better choice – here the thick pastry complemented the chunky nuts.

Coffee beans are sourced from the Nude Espresso micro-roastery off Brick Lane – which make for a good quality cup of Joe.

Maison d’Etre manages to offer what that side of Highbury Corner was hitherto lacking, so maybe that can be enough raison d’etre for its existence.


Venue name: Maison d'Etre
Address: 154 Canonbury Rd
N1 2UP
Opening hours: Open 7.30am-6pm Tue-Fri; 10am-6pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Tube: Highbury & Islington tube/Overground/rail
Price: Coffee and cake for two: around £10
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:35
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
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Love this place, was told by a friend to eat here whilst I waited for her arrival. The inside is rustic with wooden tables, the ladies are very nice, chatty and welcoming.

The menu is short and sweet, too many choices and your mind gets boggled. I got the smash avocado on sourdough and a berry iced tea. It was so delicious, refreshing and healthy, the berry ice tea was just what I needed and served in kiln mason jars makes it even more authentic and quirky. Quite impressed, it's not expensive, the level of service received is outstanding. There's a back seating area with a conservatory which is also quite nice, you can sit, have a coffee and do some work. They won't try and kick you out, they actually encourage it :)


This is an excellent option for your weekend brunch. It is very cozy and has a warm interior. The staff is really friendly and will always meet you with a smile. I have been there plenty of times as their coffee, iced teas, juices and none the less their food is great! Do yourself the favour of ordering their french toast! It is so indulgent and delicious, truly the best I have had in the city! 


I've yet to try the food here but the coffee and atmosphere are brilliant. A great place to grab a coffee on the weekend - it's delicious!!!


This is one of my favourite cafe place and scrumptious brunch place in London. Yes you have the usual avocado on toast but you also have beautifully made creative brunches, ricotta pancakes , maple syrup , homemade muesli. It is quite popular now in the week end so you might have to queue a bit. Really delicious cakes , the staff is really friendly and the deco really sweet with old Vietnamese inspired paintings , highly recommended !

Very friendly service and nice morning atmosphere. Try the avocado on sourdough for a homely feeling... the coffee is top notch too.

Not only is the quality of coffee and food tops, but the owner and people who work there create a friendly and inviting atmosphere.

amazing venue, really nice team with really good food and pastries, week end brunch menu is one of the best !!!

It's one of my favourite places, great food, fantastic coffee and fabulous staff. I feel lucky to live just around to corner!

A veery agreeable local coffee shop in an area where they're still lacking. Service can be a bit slow, but if you want to slow down on your way to work or for any reason, this is where to do it in Highbury Corner.


The cutest of coffee shops and great interior! Delicious coffee and very tasty brunch. Perfecting the often overdone smashed avo on rye.

Lovely staff and relaxed vibes.

Hard to go wrong here.

I love red brick coffee beans from square mile. All the cafe uses this bean, maison d'etre does it best. It tastes great with soy milk! It has a lot of acidity in the bean, with soy it brings out the sweetness.  And the cakes are good to the tongue as well as to the eye. 

Maison d’etre has been one of the highlights of my day since I discovered it 3 weeks ago. They serve an excellent Square Mile espresso and their cakes are divine. Their brunch and lunch menu is one of the best and most innovative in London although over the weekends you might have to queue up before you get a table.
Staff is borderline hipster but always very attentive and friendly and the overall vibe is effortlessly relaxed and stylish. The conservatory at the back is an ideal space to do some work, play some records on a vintage record player or simply watch the clouds above pass by. :)

My favourite cafe is Islington. My partner and I come here for breakfast/brunch every week. Lovely atmosphere, creative and interesting food and proper coffee!

Wonderful food and drink prepared with real care and attention in a beautiful environment.

The best granola on the planet! And lovely staff and fabulous coffee. What's more to say...

Delightful staff. Delicious homemade almond milk. The best Matcha lattes. Great place to while away an afternoon.

Wonderfully friendly staff and atmosphere. Great coffee and delicious food.

Amazing brunch and lunch and one of the most consistent flat whites in London. Relaxed atmosphere with attentive and friendly staff.

This place is a gem! A wonderful little local café with top quality food, a very descent coffee (uses Nude beans i think) and a warm and welcoming vibe. The conservatory at the back feels like home away from home. 5 stars for maison.

A shambles. Don't bother wasting your time. Waited 20 minutes for a coffee before deciding to cut my losses and leave. Try nearby Ziloufs instead. Substance over style.

I went back to Maison d'Etre straight away last saturday morning, just coming out of the Eurostar! I simply love the place. Plus it's only one tube station away from St Pancras!

I had a pretty exceptional piece of cake here, and I am extraordinarily fussy about my cake. We had the lemon tart too, and yes it was tiny, but very fresh which is sadly unusual. I am fed up of soggy pastry. If your cupcake was dry, well serves you right for ordering cupcake :) Great coffee too and a lovely space.

Anne Faber you are a mad woman - 2/5??? Truly crazy. Maison D'etre is my local and favourite cafe in London. You will struggle to find better coffee elsewhere. Benoit's comments are pretty funny. The staff are great and always welcoming. I recommend the salmon with cream cheese and dil sandwich dish. I can't wait for summer to roll around to make the most of the outdoor area :)

To be honest with you. I'm french, from Paris, in my late 30s. So i always wake up in a bad mood and you can imagine that Parisians think very little of british bread, not to mention... coffee. But even if it defies my greatest prejudices i must say that the homemade patisseries, the food (made in front of you by the most ravishing women) and the selection of excellent coffees manage to put me in a good mood every day. I even almost become amicable if i take a second serving. So i made it my HQ and all my friends are forever thankful. Try it, it might save your relationship!

We visited maison d’etre this afternoon as it was mentioned in The Guardian a couple of weeks ago. The place is very cute but perhaps too small to accommodate big groups. Luckily after a short wait we found a nice corner at the back yard. Tea and scones left us all satisfied and the service was quick and sweet. Will be back again for launch one of these days.

Top little gem of a cafe fast becoming my top coffee haunt. Super cute with beautiful vintage decor and top quality coffee and cakes. It's all the little details I love- down to the little jars of tempting toppings and preserves on the tables, and the record player in the corner you can choose records for. I love this place.

Love this place, been a couple of times, and i have to say it's probably my favourite cafe in north London at the moment.

This place dissapoints! cupcakes were dry, coffee was mediocre, service was poor will probably go there again just incase I had a bad day.....

At first glance this place is sweet, quaint & current! However as Time out quite rightly pointed out there is very little else ... style over substance... Disappointing : (

Go there too often, as it's like home for many people around the area. Timeout, your reviews are really out of touch. The people, the coffee, the cakes and all are great.

This cafe is amazing! The best coffee in London, lovely little garden out the back, great food and there's a record player where you can choose what musuc to put on! Love it.