I still remember the day it opened. Back then, Audio Underground was across the road and I rehearsed there twice a week with my band. Some of the shop spaces in the area were classic Seinfeld “Bermuda triangle[s] of retail,” opening and shutting before you could even learn their names. Yellow Warbler, I assumed, would share the same fate. And early on, business did look pretty slow.
The truth, though, is in the coffee. And Yellow Warbler’s always tastes amazing. The food’s good, too. South American inspired breakfasts. Homemade cakes, croissants and sausage rolls. Mostly organic, locally sourced ingredients. And the bread’s from Dalston’s iconic Dusty Knuckles Bakery. Once, I had a bacon brioche roll with romesco sauce and loved the Spanish nut and pepper-based relish so much I started making it at home – and still do.
Back to the coffee, though. I’ve found you’re always guaranteed a great flat white when the barista asks if you’d like sugar in it before he or she adds the frothed milk and latte art. And Yellow Warbler always asks. I can take a bit of snootiness as well, as long as it’s backed up by a magical cup of coffee. China Plate Espresso, for example, which is now closed but was just around the corner in Stoke Newington High Street, had the rudest baristas ever.
Once, mine made a coffee for herself and started drinking it right in front of me before serving (or even making eye contact) with me – and she reeked of cigarettes. Naturally, I was expecting the coffee to taste out of this world… but sadly, it didn’t.
Likewise, The Haberdashery, also in Stoke Newington High Street, has some pretty snobbish-seeming baristas who don’t backup their aloofness either. And for the record, Church Street’s Sapid Coffee doesn’t compare.
In contrast, though, Yellow Warbler has none of that same pretentiousness. I’ve dealt with at least four different baristas over the years, and they’re always friendly, chatty and, more importantly, reliable. In short, if you’re in the area, Yellow Warbler is worth the extra few minutes into Northwold Road. Trust me.