The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Albion, Shoreditch

2-4 Boundary St
E1 7JE
020 7729 1051

by Moose Lee

The front half of Albion is a deli and bakery – the walls are stacked with iconic brands – Heinz, Colman’s, Yorkshire Tea – and there’s bread boards covered with Chelsea buns, pork pies and sausage rolls. This area – which you walk through to get seated – acts as a kind of portal of nostalgia into an idealised version of the British cafe.

It’s a place where tea comes in big brown pots, each with a knitted tea-cosy. There’s bread and butter on every table. There’s white-tiled walls, an open kitchen and canteen-style seating.

I ordered the Albion Breakfast which, at just under a tenner, is not a bad deal. I got to choose how I’d like my egg. I thought I’d challenge them and ask for scrambled – not an easy thing to get right, on the quick – but they did a fantastic job, walking the runny/firm tightrope with aplomb. The sausages – although not brilliant – were a world away from the terrifying Frankensnags that come with the average fry up. The black pudding was perfectly oaty and crumbly, though it could have been twice as big. The only thing that really burst my bubble was the bubble and squeak. It tasted like baby food, little squidgy bits of carrot in the potato.

The atmosphere is lovely and the staff are relaxed and chatty; our friendly Aussie waiter sat at the table to take our order. It does get very busy on weekends, so best to try and get in there midweek. Albion (and Boundary – the restaurant downstairs) are owned by Terence Conran, which explains why the café has a Maitre D’. He seemed a little out of place, snooping around among the hungover trendies. That’s one thing that separates this place from your traditional greasy spoon: the clientele. One customer’s black glasses were so thick-rimmed and his moustache so prominent, that I thought at first he was wearing a rudimentary disguise.


Blogger HB said...

average snags, baby-food bubble and and small portions, all for only £10.. hmm

11:29 AM, February 12, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like it when waiters sit down at my table. Any moment, i think, they're going to pinch a chip or ruffle my hair as they walk past.

We must defend ourselves against the tide of Antipodean informality.

4:57 PM, February 12, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this review for the final sentence, which is perfection itself.

1:25 PM, March 05, 2009  
Blogger Mick Wilson said...

I must agree, great place for a breakfast treat especially if you feel like you have deserved it.

8:54 AM, July 21, 2009  
Anonymous Malcolm Eggs said...

On Saturday the service was fine until they suddenly forgot about us. Waiter after waiter would look nervously at all those plates they didn't want to clear and avoid thinking about the bill they didn't want to bring and we sat with no bill and all our dirty plates for well over half an hour. All this time they avoided making eye contact in a way that would have been funny if it wasn't so annoying. It was a shame as the food wasn't bad - but it's just too expensive for that sort of thing so for that reason, I'm out.

10:49 PM, September 27, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The service seems to have changed since the review, and is now pretty stiff upper lip -- still 'out of place' and relatively unresponsive.

This Saturday morning our party of three tried eggs on toast, and the scrambled eggs and smolked salmon (comes with a single piece of toast), as well as coffees

Good: light, airy, hangover-friendly. Outside tables if the weather's fine. Simple, no nonsense menus which seemed minimalist in comparison to the usual atmosphere in such places. The toast was made from good bread baked on the premises.

Bad: Price definitely exceeds the acceptable but by no means impressive cuisine. All food is very basically presented, as usual for this country no fresh fare in sight. The simple crockery was remarkably worn.

Verdict: If you're in the area and hung over, then forget dining... just grab some of the excellently oversized, one quid wonder croissants from the simple store at the front of the restaurant and get the hell out!

12:04 PM, July 24, 2010  
Anonymous Simon said...

The service at Albion is just horrendous!

1:00 PM, May 01, 2011  
Anonymous Highbury Will said...

I would agree with Simon and Malcolm Eggs who have commented about service - it sucks, sucks, sucks and totally takes the edge of what is otherwise a nice space and decent food. If you read comments here and other sites such as yelp, qype etc a lot of people have said the same thing for several years - yet the management obviously think it's not worth following up. Very arrogant. Shame, because it could be great.

5:04 PM, August 10, 2011  

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