Riley’s Ice-Cream Cafe – N8

When Riley’s ice-cream cafe opened in Crouch End central many people were either hostile, taking over the site of the much loved Prospero’s Book as it did, or just plain bemused: how can they sustain a business that sells something you’re only going to want to eat for at best, a couple of months of the year? Almost 2 years on and they’re still here.

Now I don’t much care for ice-cream, it’s a little too cold for my liking although I understand some people go nuts for it, and not just kids apparently. But then of course Riley’s does sell other things. They sell great coffee, with the toasty, biscuity taste my regular readers will know I dig:

and one my most recent visit I also took down a truly great little square of rich, squidgy chocolate brownie (visible just behind the macch in the pic. I suspect this was made by the cute waitress who served me, as when I paid she asked if I liked it, to which I replied “Yes, I  totally fucking did,” which was nothing less than the truth but may have come over as a little too forceful for her to feel comfortable continuing the conversation, so I can’t say for sure). Riley’s do a kind of half-hearted menu of soups and plates of cold meats/cheeses etc, which suggests to me that they don’t have proper kitchen, but there are always some nice looking cakes and whatnot, and of course, the main event ice-cream, in a bunch of not-too-weird flavours and all made on the premisies, so they say. And I believe them.

And I’ll tell you why.

The other reason I really like Riley’s is because of the dude who runs the show. He is genial, clearly on a second career having probably made a shit-ton of cash in some far more serious line, banking or similar, and is very, very defienitely from a good public school. He is friendly in a totally relaxed, not getting in your way kind of fashion, happy to talk but never going to bug you if you just want to do your thing, looks like he probaly knows a fair bit of ancient Greek and… always wears a kick-ass apron. Got to love a dude in an apron. And when he says something is true, you just kind of have to believe him.

There’s free WiFi and groovy pictures on the walls and places with cushions or without depending on your mood and space, lots of space.

Shit, the place could even convince me to like ice-cream… eeughh!

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