My Finsbury Park: Nicola Aylett

Nicola Aylett works at Blighty Coffee on Blackstock Road

Image of Nicola Aylett at Blighty Coffee

Blighty is a coffee house on Blackstock Road, serving dishes inspired by Britain and the Commonwealth countries. Out back there’s a garden, while upstairs is Blighty Arts, a shared office space and networking hub. We spoke to Nicola, whose roles at Blighty range from events organiser to cake baker.

“Blighty has a very communal vibe, and the café is used by locals, artists and our residents upstairs. We are home to a tech start up, writers, photographers and a town planner. And there’s always space for hot deskers too. There’s great energy in the area, with lots artists and small businesses starting up, and a real community spirit – which we are happy to be part of.

I work a lot with our Blighty Art residents. For example I helped out with a conversation project we held here following the death of David Bowie. Discussions about Bowie’s Black album were held in the upstairs lounge of the café, and a local artist created a dedicated piece for us.

Chris, who runs Blighty, is very open to the café being used for interesting projects, but it’s also great just as a café! We’re known for our brunches – the Winston and the Clementine are our meat and veggie takes on the full English. We’ve started opening in the evenings for dinner too, from Wednesday to Saturday. Memorabilia reflects an old-school British vibe, but each month we focus on a different Commonwealth country. This month it’s Malawi – we are using coffee beans from a smallholder there, and we’re serving whitebait, inspired by Lake Malawi.

We also serve sourdough bread, made in our kitchen by the Bread by Bike company, and we serve as much local produce as possible, including Beavertown Brewery beers from Tottenham.

Every day is different here – we run a life drawing class, yoga and even latte art competitions which we run as charity fundraisers. Our next plan is for immersive music experiences, which recreate and interpret a classic album. We’re starting with Ziggy Stardust in October, at a very exciting secret location. Watch this space!”