Traditionally, Enfield has been one of the pulse-lowering parts of London, a quasi-suburb replete with greenery, wholesome local pubs, and folk who’ve retired from London life proper. There is nothing wrong with this. On the contrary, places like Enfield and Croydon have their proper place within the broader London ecosystem. What a cottage in the countryside is to someone from a normal city, such places as Enfield, Croydon, and Ealing can be heaven to those inveterate smog-chuggers who’ve done their time in central.
However, Enfield is changing. Over the past decade or two, the recreational spread has been upgraded from hurriedly-packed picnic to fine dining. This is most likely due to the flaring of entrepreneurial spirits over the same period, which, remarkably, proved somewhat resistant to the 2008 financial crash.
Beautiful South via Facebook
One such example is the Beautiful South Restaurant. First founded in 1998, this prestigiously staffed Franco-Anglo hybrid is one of many lures for a new kind of outward migration. Having studied at Killybegs Catering College, the owner/chef James Greer went on to work in some of the finest kitchens in Europe, including Hilton Zurich and London’s Grosvenor House. The Beautiful South is currently the local number one on Trip Advisor and caters to weddings and birthdays.
But, if restauranteering isn’t your thing, the Beautiful South has not been the only establishment to arrive on the Enfield scene with a bang. English Shooting International is a clay pigeon shooting gallery nested in landscaped grounds of over four acres. At first glance, clay pigeon shooting might appear a little out of keeping with urban cosmopolitanism but the moderately priced establishment wears its woke credentials on its sleeve, welcoming those of all genders, social classes, and abilities to its ramp-accessible adventure.
With novel and top-end businesses like the Beautiful South and British Shooting International opening up left and right, it’s not surprising that the local leisure economy might start to expand. What tends to happen in situations like this is that a few key players bring in the custom, which is then capitalised on by others. And, just like that, the character of an area begins to change. Where once was sleepy and leafy, one now finds businesses like Buzz Bingo, a glitzy gaming joint with great food to boot.
Just so, the drinking options in Enfield are beginning to expand beyond the odd friendly local. The likes of Egg, London would have, until recently, looked more at home in trendy Camden than Enfield, but this is just one more sign of the times. Egg is as cool as they come, host to an impressive roster of EDM acts and events that stretch on far into the early AM.
So, there you have it – a rundown of the new sites and sounds that are repositioning Enfield. Of course, the first question is whether this is a welcome change, or another instance of the centre’s unstoppable economic assimilation process – a kind of Borg-like pulse emanating from a super concentration of Russian trillionaires. Only time will tell, but it pays to note that, while riding such a wave can be tricky, if done properly, a once-humble suburb can wash up on the world map.