I love living in Islington. I love the boutiques of Upper Street. I love the tucked away pubs in Barnsbury. I love the picture-perfect Highbury Fields in every season. And I love all the places there are to eat. One of my most-loved places is Sunday morning at Le Peche Mignon.
Le Peche is a tiny independent French cafe and food store, tucked just off Holloway Road. It’s so small there’s only one, long canteen-style table to sit at. If the weather is good, there’s also a bijou courtyard out the back with a few more tables and a splash of sunshine.
What keeps me coming back to Le Peche is their unbeatable croque monsieurs. They are the perfect antidote to an epic hangover. Smothered in a piquant cheese and mustard sauce with crispy burnt edges, encased inside is some meaty, salty ham and warm, fresh white bread. And side salads? Not normally a fan. But this side salad, with a perfect acidic French vinaigrette, cuts through the rich flavours of the croque.
Although the croques at Le Peche seem to be a firm favourite among the regulars, there are also a decent choice of other dishes. There’s Le Oeufs – Eggs Benny (in my opinion, no way as good as the croque – too mean with the Hollandaise, which also isn’t acidic enough), Florentine and Royale. There’s toasted sandwiches and baguettes. There’s also a deli-style counter with a changing range of dishes, from yummy veggie bakes to large, man-sized French-style sausage rolls. I’ve eaten my way through a good portion of Le Peche’s menu and am yet to find a total dud. However, those croques still reign supreme in my heart.
The range of hot drinks is also good. Tea, I am pleased to report, comes in a teapot with all the accountrements. The coffees are a decent standard, and the hot chocolates are creamy and indulgent.
The service at Le Peche can come over as a little harassed sometimes – it’s rarely not packed to the rafters. But while it may be a little slow, it normally also comes with a smile and a bit of TLC.
I would certainly recommend Le Peche for brunch if you’re in the area – it’s one of Highbury’s hidden gems.
Service – 3/5
Venue – 2/5 (you do sometimes end up with a stranger’s elbow in your ribs, it’s so tightly packed)
Value – 5/5
OVERALL – 4/5
Le Peche Mignon, 6 Ronalds Road, Highbury N5 1XH
Nearest Tube: Holloway Road (5min walk), Highbury & Islington (8min walk).
Le Peche Mignon is open 8am-6pm Monday-Saturday; 8am-5pm Sunday