Big Jo Bakery
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Although its name could read like the remnants of a subpar joke from a subpar ex-colleague about someone ‘in HR’, Big Jo is actually the sibling bakery and restaurant to Jolene. This spot on the Hornsey Road is as good for lunchtime catch ups with workmates over slices of ricotta, potato, pancetta, and wild garlic pizza, as it is for one-on-one evening gossip sessions featuring Basque cheesecake and bottle of something organic and funky. There’s plenty of seating outside and you can book via their website.
For lunch and by night, this spacious and bright Hornsey Road spin-off from Newington Green’s Jolene is all about pizza and wine, but it’s really an all-day bakery so throughout the morning and afternoon you can eat pastries fresh from the ovens out back. You can also drink excellent coffee, and while we absolutely would not pitch up here with our laptop riser, trackpad, and external keyboard, it’s perfectly comfortable for those times when you need to do some non- or low-intensity screen work. There’s also plenty of activity at all times of day, as staff mill flour and prepare dough for the night’s pizzas, so loads to distract you while you hunker over the proposal you’ve been working on at one of their narrow, window-facing counters.
Cheese, salad, and pickle sandwich
“I’m an absolute sucker for a well wrapped piece of bread. Maybe it’s because I lived in Paris for over a decade where food purchases often look and feel far more beautiful and luxurious than they probably need to be. Maybe it’s because it’s coming up on Christmas and having something to unwrap feels festive. Either way, the perfect little parcels Big Jo make of their take-out sandwiches make me very, very happy. And the contents aren’t a let down either. This one tasted like it had a dollop of Heinz Sandwich Spread in it amongst the salad, pickle, and cheese shards. Just what I needed on a dreary Thursday afternoon.”
The people behind Jolene, an excellent cafe and bakery in Highbury, have opened a second, bigger bakery on the Hornsey Road, just north of where it crosses Seven Sisters Road. At nights they’re serving a changing menu, but you can expect things like charcuterie plates, pizza fritta, plum and almond tarts, and natural wines, while in the daytime it’s mostly coffee and pastries.