I’d heard nothing but positive things about Vagabond since they opened around a year ago but I just couldn’t get motivated about hauling myself all the way to Finsbury Park. Shame on me. A couple of guys I chat to regularly on Twitter work as baristas there and it’s their level of competence, hunger for knowledge and real passion that finally inspired this visit.
The cafe inhabits a corner location, set back away from the road and shielded by trees, I can’t help being reminded of a great park canteen, there’s something almost ornamental about the hand built building that transforms amongst it’s urban surroundings into something more, I’m brought to mind a sort of landed Faraway Tree house even. The shop manages to draw from it’s eclectic external influences to create a cultural mixture that could almost be anywhere in the world, it’s like being transported somewhere unfamiliar but at the same time warm and welcoming. Stepping inside is like an inverse Tardis; the interior is crowded in upon itself, with all energy towards the bar, steamed up windows cocooning and seemingly reducing space further, I imagine in warmer months the cafe explodes onto the surrounding paving, tumbling past the benches and tables, relaxing out unbridled and languishing beyond it’s winter constraints. Decor is raw and natural; coffee sacks, slabs of wood, vibrant artwork and rows of those bright red Hasbean packets that promise much. The counter is stuffed with a selection of suitably tasty looking coffee accompaniments, hot chocolate is by way of Kokoa Collection.
I’m offered a batch filter first that is beautifully caramelly sweet, this I chase with an intense, perfectly extracted espresso that is full of dried fruits flavours and blueberry, both by aforementioned Hasbean. The shop has a steady stream of customers throughout the hour I’m in situ, a curious mixture of those looking for a specific caffeine hit and lucky locals.
I’m told there is a second site opening next month by Holloway Road, another area severely lacking in decent coffee spots, hand built in the same style but this time with far more space. As with this one, I’m sure the new shop will be received with a huge sigh of relief and an extremely warm welcome from great caffeine starved locals.