Antiques, Mochi and Hot Cocoa
Camden Passage, a tiny alleyway with a rich history hosts an antique market on Wednesdays and Sundays. Traders sell a range of antique objects from jewellery, to tea sets, to old books and stamps. If antique represents the old, a large array of concept stores stand for the new and the innovative; proving that the two can indeed coexist.
Start at the top of the Passage, just after the Coffee Works, and step into the sultry boudoir-like Penhaligon’s shop. By the end of Queen Victoria's reign, William Penhaligon had been appointed barber and perfumer to the Royal Court. Linking Penhaligon’s past and future is ‘Anthology’, their series of archive scents from as far back as 1927, reinterpreted for the modern fragrance connoisseur. My personal favourites are the gentle Artemesia solid fragrance, and the spicy Vaara perfume.
Next, step into the three-floored ‘SMUG’ store, the brainchild of Lizzie Evans who remembers spending her pocket money in Camden Passage as a little girl. Now as an interior and graphic designer, she has turned a regular shop front into a designed space filled with 1950s furniture, unique stationery, quirky kitchenware, and adorable ceramics. She created the SMUG brand including the design of the website and has also branded the Lodeveans Collection, a contemporary art collection which hangs its art on the walls of Smug. I currently love the Ali Miller Ceramic installation (see below).
A little bit further down, Brew Box. A cosy little café serving delicious mochi and matcha tea, bubble tea, churros and homemade cakes. You can relax on the sofa and play board games, while listening to great music ( whoever picks the music in this café has very good taste).
Finish with the following treat: Paul Young’s Aztec hot chocolate. This choccie is dairy-free, and you can choose various warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon to mix into your delicious drink.
Our thanks to Alexandra May for sharing her favorite addresses in Islington's Camden Passage.