Camden was buzzing as I picked my way between the tourists and teenagers, with their accompanying parents standing awkwardly in front of the stands of cannabis leaf t-shirts and platform boots covered in studs. Shop-keepers lurked among their wares, ducking under awnings to keep out of the surprisingly strong September sunshine. Higher than the awnings, a huge green dragon with LED-filled nostrils stuck onto the facade of one shop glared down at the crowds. Up and over the bridge by the lock, I wriggled in and out between tiny shorts and sundresses, spying surely the hottest woman in London, dressed head to toe in black satin and lace, with copious petticoats and even a bustle; an ornate black lace parasol keeping the harmful rays off her carefully cultivated translucent complexion.
Once past the cluster of markets, I whisked along Camden High Street, heading up towards Chalk Farm and Camden's famous Roundhouse. A former engine shed, this odd-shaped building is one of the finest music venues in the city. For this month of September, the Roundhouse is hosting the iTunes festival, putting on free gigs by artists such as Emeli Sande, Noel Gallagher, Alicia Keyes and Muse. As I reached the Roundhouse, a gaggle of slightly scruffy-looking music fans were already camped outside the building, coraled by metal fences awaiting the day's gig.
But my destination was no concert hall or intimate studio, instead I was headed for Made In Camden, the eatery on the ground floor of the Roundhouse. I had been invited to an impromptu brunch with blogging chum, Cool on Demand, who confessed that since her review of the place, she'd been back 4 or 5 times. Clearly this place had made an impression on her - this was somewhere I had to check out. I will confess however, that once I arrived, there was not a lot of time for soaking up the atmosphere, as we merrily gabbled away about anything and everything, pausing only to draw breath to order our breakfasts.
When my companion nipped to the loo I took a look around me. The space itself feels not unpleasantly like a very upmarket canteen. A bar hugs one wall, and slightly 'educational establishment'-esque chairs and tables are ranked in neat lines, each topped with a tiny vase of fresh flowers. Cutting through the centre of the space is a long wall, covered in a multi-coloured collage of gig posters. There's no forgetting where you are here, or what's going on just next door. Reappearing, my brunching companion reported that you could hear whoever was playing the Roundhouse later that day tuning up through the wall. But don't for one second think you could lurk by the toilets to hear a gig...a bouncer was apparently stationed down there to keep diners moving along. You've had your brunch now bugger off! And so, feeling rather full, we did. But I imagine we'll both be back...