Noel Fielding’s favourite Highgate cafe boosted by mouse infestation at rival Kalendar

Noel Fielding

Noel Fielding - Credit: Archant

The closure of cafe and Highgate “institution” Kalendar over a mouse infestation may have been a blow to its many patrons – but it proved popular with one nearby business.

The tables and chairs were back out after Kalender reopened

The tables and chairs were back out after Kalender reopened - Credit: Archant

The good people at Forks cafe, a few doors down in Swain’s Lane, have admitted the timing of the Camden Council-enforced shutdown could not have been better.

The rival eaterie, a favoured hang-out for the likes of Highgate West Hill-based comedian Noel Fielding, who is known to meet celeb pals such as singer Paloma Faith there, was nearly overrun by Kalendar customers with nowhere else to turn.

And that gave the slightly homelier establishment a chance to show off the refurbishment to its comfortable back room – which was completed just days before council officers put paid to Kalendar’s hopes of benefiting from the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Forks waiter Nick Evans told Heathman: “It’s unfortunate for them, but we saw an influx of customers. We had a big rush – it was fun and it made it interesting for the staff here to cope with it all. It gave us a chance to show off the refit.”

But come last Thursday, normal service was resumed for Swain’s Lane regulars, with Kalendar given the green light to re-open.

Regular Michael Testler, 68, of Sheldon Avenue, Highgate, who runs a property investment company, said: “It’s an institution. It’s a place where people come together and it plays an important part in the village atmosphere here.”

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Mr Testler has clearly not been put off by the mouse problem, described by the council as “extensive, widespread and uncontrolled”.

“I’m in the property business and I know how vindictive some of these councils can be and Camden is by no means an exception,” he said. “The problem is, it’s been very cold and rodents find somewhere to shelter, and Kalendar were the victims.”

Mickey Sham, who runs Swain’s Lane grocers Mickey’s Fruit, Veg and Flowers, said: “I’m very pleased to see it back open.

“It was a shock for us when we heard they were shutting down. It affected us because fewer people were coming here – we all need each other as businesses.”