The Tinderbox cafe balcony floats above the entrance to the N1 shopping centre at Angel, Islington.
It’s easy to miss, but the entrance is just past the floating ‘halo’, that looks like a crown of thorns. Go up the stairs at the back of the take-away coffee booth.
The first floor opens into a long, boxy space with lots of different seating areas: diner-style booths, a balcony, a mezzanine, shared tables and even some old leather airline seats.
I have been temporarily living nearby, and Tinderbox has become a regular haunt. The late opening – till 10.30pm at weekends – make it a civilised alternative to the pub after eating out. I also love the huge window with panoramic view of Upper Street. The first time I came here it was snowing. Being late evening everyone was a bit merry – slipping over and having snowball fights. It was like a Brueghal painting, but with red buses.
Tinderbox offer a good range of loose leaf teas from Suki, starting at £2.25. There are samples of each of the leaves in small glasses on the counter.
Teas include English breakfast, chamomile, green and Earl grey. I usually have mint tea if it’s evening, but the green and white tea is also good. It is served in a chunky teapot with china cup.
If you are in the area Tinderbox is a good spot for a cuppa, although my favorite places for tea at Angel are Candid Arts Cafe and Bill’s, which I still love for the massive enamel pot with two tea bags for a bargain £1.95. Itsu do really good tea in glass pots, but I find the and music really annoying and seats designed so you don’t hang around for long.
More places for tea near Angel, Islington: