Reviews

Burger & Bacon Bender 

   

 

This weekend I had the good fortune of trying out 2 eateries that had been on my list for a while; Electric Diner in Notting Hill, and Lerryn’s cafe in Peckham. 

As I was taking it easy on the wine this weekend, it only seemed fitting to indulge on eating out and ordering the most calorific comfort food one can only truly appreciate without a hangover and so Saturday afternoon’s sober burger craving was confronted at Electric Diner. 

For a catch up with a bezzie over casual food this place provided a great backdrop- tables were perhaps a little squeezed together and sittings ushered in and out (we were given an hour for our table, and presented with the bill without asking) but this is Portobello Road, and the buzzing, exclusive atmosphere was too good to pass up.  

I ordered the single cheeseburger (£9) and fries (£5) which is steep. I don’t know anywhere that charges a fiver for a side of spuds, and I thought this price was a bit ridic- when somewhere like Honest burgers gives you fries with your burger at no extra cost, a benchmark is set and if Electric Diner wants to rattle up the burger scene then it’s going the wrong way about it. However, I had not come to a burger restaurant, and it was packed with people ordering steak, knickerbockerglories and honey fried chicken which all looked very good. For the record, my burger was very tasty, held together well with good brioche, but when Honest Burgers is a couple of doors down, you can’t help make comparisons and theirs is better!

My friend ordered the hot dog and this was well sized, generously sauced and seasoned and came with a pot of caramelised onions and a pickle. She was very pleased, and she is German therefore not to be contested. 

   

 

The brunch is big news here and since it had such a good atmosphere- low lighting, upmarket twists on classic diner decor and good music- I’d defo go back and be sure to watch a film too. 

The following morning a trip out to Peckham for a nose in Rye Wax records with my boyfriend required a stop off so we strolled down a sun basked Rye Lane to Lerryn’s – I’d heard Lerryn’s was a no fuss, top quality cafe serving good coffee and sandwiches so we decided to check it out. 

A specific hipster demographic had collected here, both stark contrast and ironically familiar in style to the rough and tumble that is Rye Lane, and as we slotted in and suitably ordered our soy latte and Americano, we rolled our eyes when it arrived in a glass jar, of course, to mark it’s alternative stance. Although this looks nice, and the use of handleless mugs is well practiced in Northern Europe, I do prefer to be able to pick up my coffee without scalding my fingertips! 

  

I am by no means slating Lerryn’s- it serves great coffee, food is made fresh In the exposed mini kitchen and it has attracted good loyal clientele who appreciate the bright side of gentrification in this area. We ordered bacon butties which came on thick toasted sourdough with chilli jam and optional extras – I went for the fried egg. The menu was centered around the sourdough, with halloumi, avocado and peanut butter all possible variations and they all looked good. Sunday papers were provided which was a nice touch and service was with a smile. 

At just over £12 for breakfast for 2, it’s very reasonable for such a popular area, and is a great place to spend a few hours on a Sunday without breaking the bank.  

 

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Reviews

Brew Cafe, Clapham

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Having racked up a brunch bucket list that that has been too long neglected due to the indulgence of hangovers and homemade bacon butties, this weekends pre holiday prep called for an early start, and so it was time to tick off a trip to Brew cafe on Northcote Road.

Inspired by Aussie all day cafés in Sydney, Brew has a chilled out atmosphere and a menu boasting creative twists on brunch classics, burgers, pizzas, juices and cocktails to take you into the evening . I’ve heard it even does a breakfast in bed special where you can lie and sip prosecco, horizontal as you please, though only at their Putney branch. Dishes such as Turkish pide, one of 2015’s NBTs, and panko crumbed chicken burger showed influences from worldwide cuisines, and it’s spot on with it’s menu buzzwords such as ‘folded’ eggs, which sound much more sophisticated that scrambled eggs.

We got the blueberry pancakes which came stacked with creme fraiche, hot caramelised banana and obv maple syrup. I have a bit of a soft spot for pancakes; I often pick up a 6 pack of scotch for a quick fix at work, and was pleased to find that these lived up to expectations. They were American style, thick and hot out of the pan which is vital. The ratio of egg to flour was higher than that I would use at home, but this didn’t detract from the from the fluffiness. The maple syrup was a little stingy, and had it not been for the crème fraiche I’d have requested some on the side.

To drink I had a sweet and spicy cinnamon latte, and opted for a brownie bite on the side which was a dense chocolately chunk studded with hazelnuts, with more of a truffley than cakey brownie texture. It was deliciously rich, and only 50p extra.

Brew on the whole isn’t cheap- this set me back £13.50 (including 12.5% service charge) and it wasn’t the biggest portion. This isn’t the kind of place you can while away the afternoon with your papers, not least for fear of the bill you could rack up but for the glares from hungry locals waiting for your table. Taking this as a good sign, and with temptations such as toasted banana bread with pistachios and red velvet cake, its somewhere I’d happily revisit for a weekend sweet fix. For dinner and drinks, I’d head to their bigger Putney venue.

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Reviews

Nordic Bakery, Soho

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Since my uni days in Sweden, I’ve often craved hot doughy cinnamon buns or Kanelbullar, the swirled pastries that lined the counters of quaint cafés in Lund and were a favourite for afternoon fika. Rollers cafe in the Manchester Arndale centre do a pretty decent version, seeped in an especially good cinnamon cream Cheese which made me particularly greedy when they offered out their frequent free samples, and often served as an indulgent post lecture snack. Now quite beyond my reach, it was with delight I discovered Nordic Bakery in Soho, decked out all scandi smart with that enticing scent of spice unique to Scandinavian baking.

So, at the sight of the long queue ordering cinnamon rolls in unison, I got one to take out so I could enjoy it in the morning, warmed it in the oven so the syrup oozes out. Dense and more filling that I’d expected it was the perfect Winter breakfast. They had an impressive selection of specialist scandi bakes, including Finnish Karelian pies made with cream and rice, which I’ve not seen anywhere in London. I still savour the memory of the traditional one I had in Helsinki with Lina of The New New Yorkers blog, and must try one here to compare.

Unfortunately it was as expensive as Sweden too; their smoked salmon on rye was £4.40 which is a lot for what is essentially half a sandwich and a minute one at that, even in Soho. But the cosy yet studious atmosphere has truly replicated that of my favourite coffee shops in Sweden, and for this I will be back.

The only other coffee shop I’ve come across with proper Nordic authenticity is Takk in Manchester, read about it here .

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Reviews

Cereal Killer Cafe

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A month after the opening of Cereal Killer, in a restrained attempt to avoid the Brick Lane length queues of diehard fruit loops, it was time to make the inevitable trip for one of their crunchy cocktails.

There’s been a lot hating on Cereal Killer as of late, many arguing it is ludicrous to pay 3 quid for a bowl of cereal; that these middle class wankers, to quote directly from their Facebook page reviews, have taken gentrification to a suffocating new level. Have these people never paid upwards of 3 quid for a coffee, never marvelled at cost price this actually amounts to and never considered the money they are contributing to tax dodging multinationals purely for the novelty of a branded take out cup with their name on? Run by 2 lads who’ve had the balls to follow their dream and poise as the Jedward of cafe culture, the novelty and originality of it makes it, in my opinion, much more worthwhile than getting a coffee to go.

I went for the Lion King cocktail of lion bar cereal and coco caramel Shreddies topped with Mars mix and served with a cute little bottle of caramel milk. It took several panicked scans of the walls shelved with pretty boxes to create endless combinations before I could order. I was overwhelmed, in a good way, and threw on a side order of Pop tarts to take my excitement to sugary new highs. Even the pop tarts section of the menu was 14 strong: we went for the confetti cupcake and hot fudge sundae flavours ( 2 for £2.50).

Slightly unnerved by eating from a glass cereal bowl, whilst giddy with the shovel of Mars mix which proved to be a wonderfully chewy contrast to the crunch we vowed to come back ASAP for another fix. There were minor flaws; I was thankful for my extra side of coconut milk (40p) as my caramel milk portion was stingy, and wasn’t the mars milkshake style indulgence I’d envisaged but simply milk with a dash of caramel syrup. I was also irritated by the cereal bowl shaped integrated table light which was so bright I had to cover it with my scarf. However, this did not detract from the Pokemon and Jurassic park cereal wall of nostalgia, and there were thoughful touches- various syrups just in case you needed any more sugar, and toast with a multitude of toppings for a full brekkie experience.

It was busy, and it was mid week at 7pm. These fellas must be raking it in- I’ve heard they’re already looking at another property in Camden. In the meantime I can’t wait to go back for a bowloccino with a Happy Hippo on top!

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