LET’S get one thing out of the way: there is no place in London that is hipper than Camden Town. From the moment you step out of the Underground and onto the High Street, you are bombarded by the overwhelming nature of the area’s pronounced eccentricity. I have a particular affinity for Camden Town: whenever I am back in London after being away, it is the first place I head for. To me, Camden Town is like a bizarre sanctuary where it is possible to find yourself completely lost amongst the seething masses.
In an area like Camden Town, you expect to find shisha-bars and questionably-hygienic Chinese food. It is unexpected that you would be able to find the respite of a peaceful coffee shop amidst the hustle and bustle. That is what makes Ruby Dock at Camden Lock Market so unique: the newly-opened Australian café is a welcome respite from the craziness that surrounds it, providing patrons with a safe port from the storm of insanity that rages outside.
Ruby Dock describes itself as the “love child” of prominent London cafés Lantana and Salvation Jane. The third in a series of Australian-operated cafés in the city, Ruby Dock comes with a good pedigree: Lantana was opened it Fitzrovia in 2008 and has established itself as one of the premiere coffee shops in the city. The brand expanded with the opening of Salvation Jane in Shoreditch last year, which was also met with rave reviews. The cafés are all named after Australian flora too, with Ruby Dock described as a plant that can grow in the most unforgiving of environments. Perfect name for a café in the middle of Camden Town, I guess.
Walking into Ruby Dock reminded me of being in a café in Havana, or some other remote and tropical outpost. The décor is fairly basic, with long wooden tables and bench-seating outside so that you are able to enjoy the scenery of Camden Lock while partaking in a brew. The wallpaper screams retro-hip, and you could easily see the coffee shop turning itself into a bar as the sun went down.
It would be remiss to talk about a coffee shop without talking about… well, the coffee. Ruby Dock doesn’t disappoint on that front. Their brews are reasonably priced, and are of the exact same quality as at their much-applauded sister cafés across the city. The biggest positive about Ruby Dock, however, comes in the form of its culinary options.
The café doesn’t hold back in showing off what it has on offer: many of the cafés fine selection of sweet and savoury products are displayed on the counter to tantalise patrons as they pay for their drinks. It is hard to get a sandwich right, however Ruby Dock manages to strike the delicate balance between too little filling and just enough. It may be your natural inclination to go for some grubby market food while visiting Camden Lock, but if something of a little more substance is what you are after you should be aware that Ruby Dock is only a cobblestoned alley away.
As if Camden Lock Market couldn’t get any better, now it has quintessential Australian café Ruby Dock to add to its allure. Venture into the marketplace and find the hottest new coffee shop in NW1. Waste your day watching the world pass by at one of the hippest cafés in London.
Camden Lock Place
Camden Lock Market
Images courtesy of Ruby Dock
By Paul Bleakley