The Triangle, Crouch End
One Sunday afternoon in the late 90s I walked through the beaten metal doors of The Triangle restaurant in Crouch End to be greeted by the most amazing music, North African beats overlaid with soaring cello notes. Sitting in the corner of the restaurant playing electric cello was Ivan Hussey, aka Celloman. Music, whether it’s recorded or live, is a big part of the experience at The Triangle, they play some pretty cool stuff.
At that time I was DJing at a club in Highgate, playing a heady mix of Afrobeat, Arabic and Asian beats mixed up with some jazz and funk. Aziz, the Moroccan owner of The Triangle, has really good taste in music and we often had long chats over dinner or a weekend breakfast swapping ideas about what was currently on our playlists. You’ll hear some really good world music there, a real fusion of different cultures, rather like the food they serve.
But before we get to the food, the decor deserves a mention. It’s truly spectacular, a sort of Aladdin’s cave of nooks, crannies and little archways. The theme is North African, the walls are brightly painted and covered with prints and mirrors, fireplaces are mirrored and mosaic tiled, there are hanging plants, lamps and countless candles. The ceilings are covered with rugs and carpets and swathes of material. Did I mention the upside-down bed on the ceiling?
When I described the place to The Italian he enthused like a child in the run up to Christmas, so there was nothing for it but to go there. Not only do the two of us think food and music were made for each other, he’s also partial to a bit of drama with his dinner.
A very friendly young lady showed us to our table and brought us the menu. That’s another thing about The Triangle; I don’t know how Aziz always manages to find such great staff. I have never eaten anywhere else where the atmosphere is so warm, and where you’re always treated like a long lost friend.
To start we could have opted for the open ravioli with asparagus, the fishcakes with harrissa sauce or the spring rolls with rice vinegar dip. There were so many yummy things to choose from we couldn’t make up our minds but in the end decided to order two starters and share them.
We went for the Triangle parcels, delicious flaky pastry packed to bursting with pakchoi, peppers and goats cheese with a pistachio and mustard dressing, and the crocodile with satay sauce which was delicious and tender. Needless to say, we wiped both plates clean.
The mains took some time to choose, too. So many good things from stuffed aubergine to kangaroo steak with mixed berries wine sauce. Then there was fish with baked fennel, Moroccan seven veg couscous with apricot and grilled halloumi – in the end we settled for the lamb tagine cooked with prunes and almonds, and the jerk chicken with sweet potatoes, yoghurt and saffron sauce.
The chat dwindled as we set about our food. The lamb was so tender it just fell away from the bone, the prunes provided a touch of sweetness to offset the richness of the meat. At the halfway stage we swapped plates. The jerk chicken looked innocent enough but as I bit into it my taste buds started to cha-cha-cha as tiny explosions of different spicy flavours did the rumba across my tongue. We didn’t order dessert, there are five or six to choose from including Chocolate Marquise, a serious fix for any chocoholic, but finished with some hot, sweet Moroccan coffee.
The Triangle is also a great place at the weekend for a breakfast or lazy brunch. And the Sunday roast is very good as well. The breakfast menu includes some interesting variations on scrambled eggs and omelettes, charred chorizo with poached eggs or Toulouse sausages with red lentils and black pudding. The coconut pancakes with maple syrup caught the Italian’s eye, he sure does like something sweet to kick start his day.
The lamb tagine had been so wonderful we had to thank all the kitchen staff personally. Aziz smiled and said “Moroccan food is simple but very easy to mess up.” He saw us off into the night with a friendly wave from the door. As we left another customer arrived. He was greeted enthusiastically with a hug; The Triangle’s that kind of place. If you get the chance to go there, go, you’ll like it, everybody does.
1 Ferme Park Road
London N4 4DS
020 8292 0516