Green Lanes is becoming my go-to destination when I don't have anything in the fridge for lunch. Partly because of its proximity to my front door and partly because of its plethora of good restaurants, cafes and grocers mean that I always have a choice.
Yasar Halim - a double-fronted, Turkish Cypriot grocers and bakery - is my current stop-off when I'm jonesing for something either stickily sweet or salty-savoury. The bakery offers eight tulumba (crispy, oval gulab jamuns) for a quid, a price that I can't imagine being bettered. The warm and gooey baklava leak sugar all over your fingers and face. Similarly good value are the boreks (rectangles of puff pastry filled with feta, spinach or lamb), either the small for 55p or the large for £1.20. The boreks' fillings, and I have tried all of them, are consistently good - the feta is partially melted and contains strands of herbs, the spinach seems almost healthy with hints of citrus, and the lamb is nicely spiced. My favourite baked good, however, is a bun that contains layers of cooked black olives and slices of spring onions. The bread is dense and yeasty, the olives salty, and the onions caramalised, making this one very reasonably priced bun a perfect meal.
Next door in the grocery side of the shop is every conceivable type of fruit and vegetable, along with a wide range of Turkish and Greek products, a thousand or so types of yoghurt, and a very cheap meat selection. I regularly pop in to grab whatever's seasonal in Cyprus - figs (five for £1!) and giant pomegranates last month, juicy oranges at the moment.
Even without the rest of Green Lanes, including the Antepliler mini-empire, the local Turkish community would be well-served with just Yasar Halim. I know that I need to break my habit and go elsewhere, but it's just so convenient and always delicious.