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Review

Jolene

££££
Written by

Remember when you spent seven quid on a loaf of bread? Or when you stayed up till 3am looking at ceramic kitchenware? That’s what Jolene wanted. You see, Jolene has been watching everyone, all over London, for months and months, as they tirelessly scroll and marginally overpay. Jolene is what happens when a sourdough starter is fed with natural wine and stored in an old Aesop bottle. Because from several little slightly overpriced things, does one big slightly overpriced thing grow. And you know what? We like it.

This is the all-day cafe and bakery that everybody (and nobody) in Newington Green has been waiting for. You’re either going to sit here, have a fine plate of eggs, jamon, and potatoes, and feel absolutely content. Probably even a bit better about yourself. Or you’re going to walk in, look at the exposed plaster wall, turn to see the one chalkboard menu, and wonder how’s it all gone so drastically wrong. Basically, don’t bring your old folks here.

But it’s good, trust us. For a start the food here is nice. It’s sort of homely but healthy. If you had an Aga and lived in the country, we expect you’d probably eat this menu everyday. Not because any of it is necessary, but because it all just feels a bit Radio 4, and breakfast around the salvaged table. Fried eggs on everything, cheese toasties, a bit of spelt here, a tomato soup there. In fact, really, it’s stuff you could make at home everyday. But it’s still tasty and enjoyable. Everything is under a tenner, but slightly over what you’d expect to pay considering the portion-size. You want to be resentful but you can’t. Because Jolene.

Part of the irresistible (and infuriating) seduction of Jolene is the space. It’s so big. And nice. And comfortable. And light. We came here once for breakfast (granola, then eggs) stayed for lunch (an excellent caesar salad) and left (begrudgingly) when it closed. We felt the same during a candlelit (duh) dinner as well. But you can still come here, enjoy a coffee, talk about the property market in Margate, and feel just as snug. The only possible explanation for this level of contentment is that Jolene is built on an ancient burial ground of good pillows and booze.

There’s no doubt that this place is into itself. The name is scrawled, a la REDRUM, all over the shop. But whatever. Would you be surprised if Danny from The Shining grew up to be a typographer who lives in Stoke Newington? No, us neither. And if he did, he’d definitely be in Jolene.

Food Rundown

Karolina Wiercigroch
Baked Stuff

Jolene is first and foremost a bakery. Their bread is nice. And the marmalade shortbread is particularly good.

Karolina Wiercigroch
Fried Eggs, Jamon, Potatoes

This is the plate to get here. £8.50. A couple of crispy orange eggs, salty ham, crispy potatoes. Job. Is. A. Good’un.

Karolina Wiercigroch
Cheese And Ham Toastie

An undeniably tasty toastie. But eight pound is an undeniably high price as well. We’d order it again though.

Curried Spinach, Soft Egg, Crumbs

This is a tasty but light breakfast. It’s sort of a snack-like portion, so don’t expect a tonne. But it tastes good.

Karolina Wiercigroch
A Soup

The soups here are generally lovely. We’ve had a vegetable one, and a pumpkin one. Both were very nice.

Karolina Wiercigroch
Chicken Or Guinea Fowl Salad

If a poultry salad is on, it’s worth ordering. Delicious and usually snowed in parmesan.

A Lentil Or Spelt Thing

They like their lentils and spelt here. Obviously. The plates tend to be quite tasty, and are laced with things like goats curd, and some vegetables.

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