A change of menu at Stoke Newington's Clissold House café has started a row.It’s met with the same reaction from the locals, though, unsurprisingly enough:
Claims that the manor house café had been taken over by the snooty and the "nouveau riche" came after traditional fare such as chips, beans and chocolate pudding were replaced by couscous and spiced nut salad, beetroot and seed cake, and £12.75 gnocchi with roast mushrooms.
Some customers were so angry they set up an action group on Facebook. One critic wrote: "It's a sad day for those of us who have lived in the area all our lives. Gone are the days when the café would provide basic and hearty food at decent prices."But it’s not just because the management thinks this is the sort of thing that the residents should be eating, oh no.
In fact, it seems more as a push to get the right sort of residents through the doors:
The organic revamp has been overseen by Company of Cooks, which also runs Kenwood House in Hampstead.Couscous eaters if ever I saw any…
The area has seen an influx of political and media types over recent years, with relative newcomers including Labour power couple Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, comedian Stewart Lee and BBC news reader George Alagiah drawn in by its village feel.
Locals say the café should be a meeting place for the community and were angry when the council handed the contract to run it to Company of Cooks rather than a local outlet.Oh, but I’m sure there’s no hidden agenda here. Or…is there?
Vicky Cahill of Company of Cooks told the Hackney Gazette that although the café had been "incredibly busy" since opening last month they were aware that not everyone was happy.It’ll just stay there until you ghastly little oiks have all found some greasy egg & chip dive to favour with your custom, ok?
"We're listening to the many viewpoints about the type of food that people want to see available, and in no way see the opening menu as the final version."