Dojo Has it Large in... Camden
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Camden's not what it used to be, but let's be honest, neither are you and neither are we. Perhaps it's the swarms of tourists, or the influx of money; perhaps it's the smell of wacky greenery, or the inebriated fuckery. But under the overpriced eateries and the Deathly Hallows tees, Camden's a bit of a beaut' and a charming old ditty. So let's have it large now, shall we?
Best for... a bangin' brunch under the arches
We're not too sure who Loren is, but her shakshukas are delightful. Nestled under the arches, this little nook serves up sweet smiles, soothing coffees and spicy brunches to keen passersby.
Go for the traditional red shakshuka - an intricate blend of poached eggs, tomatoes, chilli peppers, tahini, onions and just the right balance of Middle-Eastern spices. As if that wasn't enough, they also dish out intriguing Israeli idioms, like 'You can only see a rosy world through red coloured eyes'. Something to ponder as you wade through the market's hazy mist.
Best for... cheesy halloumi goodness
When he's not off foraging in Hackney, Oli Baba is busy running tings in his halloumi fry shack on Kerb's Camden Market. These fat, juicy slithers of cheese are crispy on the outside and comforting on the inside, paired with the zing of pomegranate, the freshness of mint and soft, creamy za'atar yoghurt. If that doesn't float your boat, you can always get something else from the market - it's not like there are no other options.
Best for... a spot of culture
Times change, but do they really? That's one of the questions you might wish to contemplate as you stare down into the medieval mikveh of London's one and only Jewish Museum.
Other questions might pop up as you stroll through this two-floor institution boasting one of the finest collections of Jewish art and artefacts in the world. Like why do we still act like schmucks to marginalised people and how is Shakespeare in Yiddish not a thing anymore? Plenty of existential stuff to consider, but we have bigger fish to fry.
Best for... fried fishy tings
Hook's chef Gordon is so into fish and chips you'd think he was pulling your fin. This former drum & bass DJ is quite the character and, more importantly, a pretty exceptional cook.
Dive headfirst into some freshly fried skate in panko (a flakey Japenese bread crumb) with seaweed salted chips dipped in spicy pineapple and ginger ketchup, which is sweet, sour, salty and succulent. Pair that with a homemade raspberry and thyme lemonade, add a shot of gin, add another, and walk away before you order more popcorn cockles.
Best for... impressing a vegan date
Too much fish can spoil the broth, that's why veg is better. This hub of coppery decadence dishes out chill vibes and veggie deliciousness in a sophisticated setting, complete with quirky wall fittings and surprisingly comfy seating.
The beetroot burger, mushroom and ale pie, sweet potato curry and summer salad are all winners, but it’s the vegan raw chocolate truffle cake that takes the crown. Whoever said you can't have your cake and eat it should really shut up and pop into Mildreds.
Best for... a G&T, or two, or three
If you're a bit of a Dojo aficionado - which you are, we have data, we know things - then you know we have a bit of a soft spot for a hidden gem, a saucy Sunday roast and many a glorious gin.
So we're off to find the ol' Colonel Fawcett, a splendid gastropub just off Camden Rd decked out in shades of turquoise and snug burgundy sofas. Pick one of the 30 gins they have on offer, then nip out into the lavish garden to enjoy a few seconds of silence under the fairy lights and the bougie, burgeoning pergola.
Best for... satisfying that sweet tooth
After summin sweet, summin sexy and summin a little scientific? Then you're a bit of a strange one, but we're into it. As is Chin Chin, an isty bitsy retro shop bang in the middle of the market that specialises in nitro ice cream, a magically soft and creamy concoction that melts in your mouth coz you've finished it long before it can melt in your hand. It is a bit spenny and they only do four weekly options, but don't let that put you off, not when there's so much smooth, scrumptious stuff to shove down your gob.
Best for... a taste of Brazzziu
There's an old saying in Brazil: who drinks cachaças, must also have tapas - or something similar, we can't really remember. This shabby shack opposite the market specialises in fishy tapasy tings and has over 350 types of cachaças on offer, which is a lot. One might even say it's too much.
Perch in their slightly seedy rooftop conservatory and grab yourself a sleek and tangy chilli-infused raspberry caipirinha. You know, for the road - the long, strenuous road to the next cocktail bar round the corner.
Best for... tequila & chillin' with the chulas
With colourful tiles adorning the walls, a fiercely friendly vibe, casual coffee, tasty tacos and three pages of tantalising tequilas, mezcals and other agave-based spirits to choose from, this Mexican joint has all sorts going for it. And the guys who work here are real experts, so put yourself in their hands.
After much careful, deliberate consideration, we'd recommend going for their signature margarita or their take on a tequila raspberry sour. If all else fails, the last, slightly illegible words in our notebook are 'Reposado is nice', so maybe just try that?
Best for... some sickening cabaret
As our journey comes to a close, we're forced to fathom the impossible; that despite the throng of tourists and the throes of gentrification, there are still incredible, ingenious people left in Camden, if only you know where to look.
Look at Her Upstairs for instance, a queer, questioning and quintessentially quirky cabaret where good peeps huddle close together to enjoy a wee night of artistic debauchery and rad performance tart-istry. Once you've indulged in a good dose of gaudy, glittery genderfuckery, you can either go home for a warm cup'a tea, or head to Joe's for a messy night out with your ol' pal Charlie.
Best for... a meat heavy supper
Admitting to liking steak these days is akin to admitting to liking golf; we'd advise only telling your nearest and dearest, and even then expecting to lose a couple of close friends. But *whispering* we are partial to the occasional slab, and this is a brilliant place for it - a rustic, homestyle Argentine restaurant where the expat Argentines dine, with a menu full of tasty grilled cuts of the highest order.