Tatran (Slovak Shop)

by tim bradford on December 18, 2007

On the borders of N5 and N4 is the quiet corner of Finsbury Park Road and Mountgrove Road. The latter used to have a variety of shops – accordion seller, antiques, bikes, two Chinese takeaways, design agency, Sylvanian Family franchise. Some of these have gone to be replaced by apartments but new businesses keep appearing – latterly a 1940s furniture emporium and a computer repair shop.

When Tatran appeared on this corner two or three years ago it seemed perfect for a street which for a long time has been threatening to become more interesting. A few times I took my work there and sat in the back of the café, where you could get away from it all and sip virtually tasteless yet strangely enjoyable Slovakian milky coffee. The place was usually manned by attractive Slovak chicks who would sit at a table near the window leafing through what looked like the Argos catalogue and Heat magazine.

But now Tatran is no more. It closed for the summer holidays and never reopened. At the time of writing the place is being done up – the peachy orange is now brick red and the handwritten "Slovak Shop” sign painted over. Where will we get Slovakian chocolate bars now, then? Or Solvakian vacuum packed frankfurters? Or idiosyncratic Slovakian biscuits? And where, in the whole of London, will we get virtually tasteless yet strangely enjoyable Slovakian milky coffee?

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