This is Ibrahim Colliver who runs Affinity, the cafe which has added a bit of sparkle to that once fly-blown stretch of Highgate Road between Gordonhouse Road and the Southampton Arms. If you haven't popped in here, you should. The coffee's good ... the pie-and-peas exceptional ... and it's a friendly sort of place which adds lustre to the locality.
This used to be a fish shop (remember Fish and Fowl and more recently Fish Tales?) Affinity has incorporated part of the old signboard, and other relics of the property's previous incarnations, in its interior decor.
Next door, the long derelict Chinese takeaway has been transformed into a 'natural' grocery.
And the garage opposite is being demolished - in its place will come a smart, three storey block of flats, set low so it will have a smaller silhouette, and stylishly designed using the motif of the nearby railway arches.
All-in-all, quite a makeover!
The highlight of Affinity's limited menu: the pies, of course! Not the old fashioned steak-and-mushroom type - something much more tempting; and all but the fish pie are vegetarian. Some come from the Scottish Borders - the gluten-free ones from a pie company in Plymouth; increasingly the fillings are bespoke to Affinity.
And if you have any sense, you will order a small mushy-pea-based dhal to accompany your pie - it's brilliant and made locally.
Affinity opened in February, and while it has a growing band of regulars, custom has been slow to build-up. That's in part because the cafe has done very little marketing. It should perhaps put more effort into promotion.
Affinity is Ibrahim's first venture into the cafe business - but he's an old hand at the food trade. He tells me that he had a business supplying cafes and other outlets with organic salads and meals, but he didn't want to scale that up so decided to go retail himself. He lives just two minutes walk away and makes the salads and rice pudding on site.
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