Going back in limes

On his tour of Enfield’s best eateries, Neil Littman gets breakfast at a traditional English ‘caff’ with an international twist

Limes Cafe has been a Winchmore Hill institution since 1936
Limes Cafe has been a Winchmore Hill institution since 1936

In March 2020 I received a book for my birthday called Breakfast London: Where Real Londoners Eat. Written by Bianca Bridges, it features 120 places to eat in London. Three days later, we were in lockdown, and I wasn’t able to try any of its recommendations – or even leave the house.

The book, good though it is, doesn’t feature any venues beyond the boundaries of the North Circular, so allow me to rectify that now with one of my favourite borough breakfast spots!

Limes Cafe – or ‘Limes Caff’ as I prefer to call it – is located in a shopping parade on the most northern part of Green Lanes in Winchmore Hill and has been around since 1936. I have no idea what they were serving back then, but I have been going there since 2014 from which time they have been serving traditional English breakfasts; egg and chips, kippers, smoked haddock, hash browns, thick slices of toast and tea in a mug.

In an effort to attract new customers, while retaining its loyal client base, Limes has been experimenting and expanding its menu and, for several weeks during the summer, offered menus with an international flavour, including Italian, Thai, Indian and Mexican. I visited Limes Cafe during both ‘Thai Week’ and ‘American Week’ and I’m glad I did.

During the latter, I forwent my usual plate of egg and chips and opted for popcorn chicken with spicy mayo (pictured, above right), plus smokey corn on the cob with grilled parmesan. Also on offer were mac ’n’ cheese and a range of ‘loaded’ or ‘pulled’ items.

As far as I could tell the food was authentic; I say this because, during my past visits to the USA, I never encountered any of these items on a menu! Perhaps I didn’t travel far enough south to encounter them?

Either way, the results were impressive, and the chef told me about what inspired him to come up with such a different range of menus – but since I’ve run out of words you will have to just go and ask him yourself!

Limes Cafe serves breakfast and lunch at £6-£12 per head, every day, and can be found at 884 Green Lanes, Winchmore Hill N21 2RS. For more information:
Visit facebook.com/limescafelondon