It’s probably the hottest day of the year so far. I don’t do very well in the heat. I only have to look at a picture of the sun for my brow to start sweating and my skin to start reddening and blistering. I’m also extremely hungover. And heading to IKEA. ON A SUNDAY. Oh dear God, why? Basically, I’m in dire need of a coffee. Any coffee at all. Just as long as some caffeine can course work its way through my veins and maybe push out some of the booze in the process.
All of which means that our visit to Fabrica was one born more out of necessity than planning or desire. We just needed some food to see us through until we can gorge ourselves on hotdogs and unlimited soft drink refills in IKEA.
This new coffee shop is so generically Dalston that it actually hurts. I don’t think I’ve passed it in the six months it’s been open without seeing at least two people sat in the window on their Mac. Probably working on their play. Or screenplay. Or noise band’s latest song. There’s one there now as we walk in. The menu is Dalson through and through as well. Named brand coffee, a few sandwiches and soups and some cakes that look like they were made by someone who looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character in the underrated Stranger then Faction.
We opt for a couple of Panini – one with Parma ham and taleggio and another with salami and gorgonzola. Even though the place is pretty empty, they take an age to make but that gives me time to have a look at their back garden which, in the Sunday morning sun, looks idyllic. It’s isolated from the bustle of Kingsland Road out front and seems like the perfect place to work on your new novel about the sex life of an office stapler, or plan an exhibition about the engendered othering of welsh miners in the 1980s.
When they arrive, the Panini are really toasted sandwiches, but none the worse for it really. The bread is good, the ingredients high quality and they don’t ruin them with silly additions they don’t need – like tapenade or something else that’s a step too far when it comes sarnis . They’re both basically posher versions of bacon sandwiches, and, in combination with the passable (but not a patch on Tin Café, still the Kingsland coffee benchmark) coffee, knock my hangover on its head. As an added bonus, it turns out that no one in their right mind opts to go to a Swedish flatpack furniture shop that takes two tubes and bus to get to on such a hot day, which makes it almost pleasant for us when we finally arrive.