Monday, January 26, 2015

Has bean

Islington has lost Tinderbox, one of the best places for posh coffee - certainly with the best chocolate patterns on top. It came from Glasgow, like its interior designers, Graven Images. They gave its first London incarnation, directly on Upper Street, old aeroplane seats, scooters and scaffolding boards. Then it moved inside the N1 Centre - a sort of mini-Arndale.

Last year, Pret a Manger opened a deceptively large operation directly opposite. Pret is owned by private equity company Bridgepoint, who still feature the talents of Lord Patten on their European advisory board, for undisclosed remuneration. Pret use funny machines to make coffee, but lo, within six months, it was all up for the baristas of Tinderbox, the only non-chain occupant of N1.

So now, in its place, we await Ed's Easy Diner. Andrew Guy is leading this so-far-private chain's expansion - 26 branches at the last count.  Average "dwell" time is, apparently, 40 minutes. "It’s all loud music, bright neon and noisy staff,” says Guy. “There’s nothing subtle about Ed’s.”

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