Homegirl London’s Restaurant Review: Walnut Café and Dining. This new neighbourhood eatery has just opened on the corner of Morris Place and Stroud Green Road in The Arts Builders owned by John Jones, Finsbury Park. The owner and chef, Emma Duggan, is keen to feed locals with her tasty dishes using seasonal ingredients from Europe. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner (on certain days), Walnut Café and Dining is ideal if you’re looking for places to eat lunch in Finsbury Park or best Stroud Green Road restaurants.
“Delightful and delicious dishes using seasonal ingredients created with love by chef Emma Duggan at her first restaurant in the heart of Finsbury Park,” Homegirl London
Walnut Café and Dining Menu
Emma Duggan has lived in Crouch Hill (Finsbury Park side) for seven years now and had been actively searching for a restaurant space for three years. Having discovered that Exeter Street Bakery had closed, Emma immediately contacted the owners. As fate would have it, Matt Jones (of John Jones, the owners of the building) had sampled Emma’s food when she worked at the White Chapel Gallery and was a fan. Emma told me that it all moved quickly after that and a couple of months after signing the lease she has opened her doors to an overwhelmingly positive response from North London locals.
Jersey Royal Potatoes with Red Onions and Tartare Sauce
We’re lucky to have Emma on our doorstep and there is nothing better than eating at a restaurant where the chef is the owner and on site every day doing what they love. Her career in food spans twenty-five years, she’s previously worked at Gordan Ramsay’s Foxtrot Oscar, Chablis, The Wallace Collection and Whitechapel Gallery. This means that you’re in for a real treat when you walk through the doors at this neighbourhood eatery.
Mushrooms on Sourdough Toast
Emma is a fan of using seasonal produce which she sources from UK, France, Italy and Spain. The meat and fish is mainly from the UK where possible. Her concise menus change throughout the day and the seasons. To give you an idea of what to expect, I’ll list a few examples. For breakfast, you can tuck into the Walnut Fully Loaded Breakfast which includes Dingley Dell breakfast sausage, smoked bacon, homemade baked beans, Northfolk eggs, mushrooms and toast. If you’re in a rush and on your way to work you can stop in and pick up a Musetti coffee and a pastry.
Homeboy and I have popped in twice already and have tried the mushrooms on sourdough toast which was very tasty. We’ve also consumed avocado on sourdough toast with feta and cherry tomatoes. These aren’t your standards offerings, they are well above standard and absolutely delicious.
Avocado on Sourdough Toast
The salads are top notch, there will usually be five variants to choose from at lunch time. Last week these included Jersey Royal potatoes with red onions and tartare sauce, chargrilled courgette with toasted hazelnuts, roast squash with sweet potato, chicory with toasted seeds and Fattoush salad with feta and pitta croutons. We tried three of the salads so far and loved them. These are the best salads in Finsbury Park, I no longer have to travel to Ottolenghi on Upper Street!
Fattoush Salad with Feta and Pitta Croutons
Aside from salads other brunch and lunch favourites will be Chapel and Swan smoked ham, eggs and chips. The steak onglet with chips, horseradish and crème fraiche looks like it will be a winner. Homeboy is looking forward to trying the fish burger with beetroot, tartare sauce and celeriac slaw.
Chargrilled Courgette with Toasted Hazelnuts
For a dinner date, you’ll enjoy the wine list which features obscure and interesting varieties. Emma tells me that she’s keen to stock wines that you won’t find at Waitrose! The dinner menu offers cauliflower and truffle soup for starters. You can try the smoked duck breast with pickled walnut dressing. Mains are currently Cornish crab risotto with radicchio and basil or roasted hake with spring greens and sauce vierge.
Roast Squash with Sweet Potato
Meat eaters can savour the lamb rump or Deham Vale skirt beef steak. Sides include truffle and parmesan chips and spring greens with chilli dressing. I’ll certainly be popping back for dinner and ordering one of the desserts which include lemon tart and a chocolate pot with orange shortbread, yum! To give you the idea of price points the big posh fry up is £12, ham with egg and chips is £10, hot sandwiches are £4.50, dinner mains are £15-19 and desserts are £6. I thought the prices were very reasonable considering the quality.
Walnut Café and Dining Interiors
The restaurant is housed in the regenerated corner of Finsbury Park where famous art framers, John Jones, built a six storey Arts Building. Previously Exeter Street Bakery occupied the premises but closed down around Christmas time. The windows are on two sides of the building which are tinted so it’s difficult to see how bright and welcoming it is inside.
The interiors are spacious with 58 covers. There is a large counter running down one side of the room where you will see an open kitchen. Wooden tables seat two or four people with Eames style white chairs. At the back, you will find two high tables with stools to seat bigger groups. Stools also face the counter which is a great place to sit if you’re dining solo or you just want to order a few snacks with a glass of wine in the evening. The concrete floor has been polished up and the breeze block walls painted a very subtle shade of grey which looks almost white. Emma tells me that the interiors evolved and she came up with the idea of tiling the counter base with hexagonal tiles after she’d seen a picture on Pinterest. Overall, the space looks contemporary and is a delightful place to relax and enjoy your meal.
Walnut Café and Dining Information
To find out more about the restaurant go to the Walnut Dining Website. The restaurant address is The Arts Building, Morris Place, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JG. It’s just around the corner from Finsbury Park tube, train and bus station. It is very close to the Park Theatre if you want to eat before a performance. Current opening times listed on the website are Monday 7.30am to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday 7.30am to 11pm, Saturday 9am until 11pm and Sunday 10am until 5pm. However, do check online as they have only just opened so these may change as they adjust what they are doing. I loved the food, I’m sure you will too so make sure you pop in and check it out!
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Emma Duggan for her time.