The Blue Legume – N8

Today I’m checking out a new member of the ludicrously over-populated Crouch End café scene: The Blue Legume. My wife tells me this is an offshoot of a Stoke Newington institution (she lived there many years ago before I rescued her from Bohemian squalor and brought her to chichi CE; she ‘s never really said thanks). It’s on the site of the World Café, which was itself something of a CE institution until it folded a few months back. The decor and  menu are actually pretty similar to the World Café: stripped floorboards and bare brick and it serves upscale café food. They’ve got a good looking breakfast menu and their Croque Monsiuer is a distinctly Brit version, with thick chunks of ham and a strong cheddar.

The macch is good and has a slightly sweet, malty taste. And you get a tiny Amoretti biscuit too.

The place appears to be run by an Eastern European dad and grown-up kids team, who look benignly weird, kind of like the Addams family. That they all dress in black only adds to the effect. Maybe they’re from Transylvania?

whilst I’m there I’m intrigued by two very different male customers . One is wearing smart casual business clothes: jeans, striped shirt, shoes that I think may be called loafers (although I’ve never really known the specific criteria that define the loafer), and all of it looks like it cost five times the amount I would ever pay for jeans, a shirt of a pair of shoes. He’s messing about on a iPad he keeps in a leather case.

The other guy strides in and standing right in the middle of the café immediately removes his sweater, before taking a seat or ordering a drink, like some kind of piss-marking ritual. Under the sweater he’s wearing a polo shirt with the collar turned up. This is a calculated sartorial statement, and now I’ve told you this you will instantly know what kind of man he is: a twat, obv., but a particular kind of rich twat that probably spends a lot of time on yachts and at outdoor events where people drink champagne with straws from those little bottles.

As I considered these two different versions of masculine identities I wondered what they would think of me, should they be looking. What, I suddenly thought, was my niche in the world of male archetypes?

I returned to my croque monsieur a little less sure of how the world worked.

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