Posts Tagged ‘hot pepper jelly’

I’m reposting this short review of Crouch End’s lovely Hot Pepper Jelly café just because I happened to be there again the other day after a gap of far too long and you know what? It’s still great. What did I eat? The fantastic Hot Pepper Jelly sandwich of course (see below). Still unusual (I don’t know anywhere else that throws this oddball combination of awesomeness into a sandwich), still delicious.

As promised in my recent  Man vs Food post, today I returned to lovely Crouch End cafe, Hot Pepper Jelly on the Broadway, to take down The Inferno.

HPJ is famed for its awesome bacon, peanut butter and chilli-jam sandwiches, and on my last visit I noticed the addition of a new and hotter version, featuring a chill-jam made with scotch bonnets or habaneros, a chilli registering an impressive 350,000 Scoville units. This is for most people the hottest chilli you’re going to come across (although by no means the hottest around, about which more in a minute).

Here’s a pic of the little beauty:

which looks harmless and  pretty much like any of their other eats. It took a couple of bites for the chilli to kick in and it immediately had that unmistakable, fruity fire you get with habaneros. It’s not unpleasant (you know, if you like that kind of thing) and is certainly not just pure heat.  It was a delicious sandwich and I ate the whole thing with little problem. My mouth went a little numb, but in a good way.

To be honest I was a little disappointed it wasn’t hotter. But then I have recently, after a long search, managed to get my hands on some of the elusive naga or ghost chillies (in Tesco of all places!), reputed to be the hottest in the world (although some will tell you it’s the Trinidad Scorpion and yet others say the Hoxton Serenity) and coming in at a neuron-frying 1,000,000 Scovilles. I made my own ghost chilli sauce and of course couldn’t resit having a little bite of the raw fruit. Shitballs, it was hot! Within seconds my mouth was a sea of pain and within minutes my hands had pretty much seized up, I guess paralysed with whatever neuro-toxins I’d released into my nervous system. So maybe I’m getting a little used to this stuff. Either way it was still a truly excellent sandwich.

More local food challenges please – Crouch end cafes, take note.

In other news, House of Dreams is now on sale at the fantastic Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green. And the charming waitress at HPJ took some of my House of Dreams postcards to display, and even said she’d put one up on the loo door – now that’s service!


I have long been a fan of the American TV show, Man vs Food, in which likeable, tubby, Brooklynite  food fantaic, Adam Richman, travels around the USA finding cafes and diners that offer some sort of food challenge. These tend to take the form of either a challenge based on size, such as an 8lb burger or giant stack of pancakes:

or some kind of extreme, chilli eating challenge usually involving a bunch of habaneros, ghost chilies and  capsaicin (basically the pure, firery essence of all chillies).

I have entered two food eating contests in my life and have won both (easily, I might add) : chillies and fish fingers. The chillies took a little effort, but to be honest, with 37 fish fingers down and my competitors collapsing in pain, I could happily have carried on.

We don’t really have much of a culture of competitive eating in the UK, but on a recent visit to Crouch End cafe Hot Pepper Jelly, I was delighted to see a gentle move in that direction.

Hot Pepper Jelly  is a cute little eight table joint squeezed in amongst many others along Tottenham Lane ( nowhere near Tottenham, don’t worry; it’s Crouch End’s main drag). It has free wifi,  charming waitresses ( never seen a dude waiter working there) serves a decent coffee in pretty little cups and a really nice selection of cafe food with an emphais on sandwhiches. But the killer is their signature Hot Pepper Jelly  a combo of bacon, peanut butter and a variety of chilli jams and jellies.

They are a thing of beauty as they are and the hot version is already enough to make you wince a little ( you know, in a good way), but once I’d ordered the already pretty fiery version, I noticed on the menu that they now offer a super hot version called… The Inferno. I couldn’t justify ordering another sandwhich right then and there, but I promise you, Hot Pepper Jelly, I will be back to take down your Inferno!


House of Dreams – the new novel by Callum Jacobs. Buy it now at Amazon.