I recently read a post by fellow food blogger Food for Think about new London expresso bar Shoreditch grind. In North Wales we are somewhat deprived of eating places, let alone cool coffee bars, so on my frequent jaunts to London I take the opportunity to indulge my yearning for a nice meal or two.
As I travelled down on the train this week, I texted a friend to arrange a lunch meet. Her text back went as follows
“Want to check out new cool coffee shop in East London”
A little light bulb flickered in my head
“It isn’t called the Shoreditch Grind by any chance is it”? I replied
Two hours later we were ensconced in a pair of window seats looking out over Old Street roundabout and mulling over the menu. I admit I went with some trepidation, hoping that the glitches highlighted in the food for think post had now been ironed out. It was after all nearly a week later.
It was still easy to tell that it was early days, I wouldn’t say the staff had reached the point of calm confidence, but they were friendly, helpful and not too stressed.
Shoreditch grind serves as another trendy addition to an area that I have seen change so much over the past 11 years (my Mum used to work for Jubilee 2000 which once had its home on Great Eastern Street; I used to visit her there from time to time). I loved its quirky, reclaimed, industrial appearance, enhanced by cool design features (spiral stairs, lights, old school type of chairs) and a soundtrack of 80’s music. One complaint was that we both found the stools pretty uncomfortable. My friend who is quite small struggled to actually stay on hers!
There was a small but enticing range of food on offer. My friend and I both ordered toasted ciabatta rolls, hers with rocket, salami and mozzerella and mine with cheddar ham and piccalilli. They were a little flat afer toasting and slightly hard going on the teeth but tasted good, mine oozed with piccalilli which slightly overpowered the other flavours.
I loved the stylish little touches, from the crumpled cup style water glasses and the opportunity to help myself to endless top ups, to the counter top jars full of intriguing looking teas from ethical tea suppliers teapigs and fresh mint leaves which gave off their pungent scent at the counter as we paid for our food.
I drank a creamy latte while my friend ordered a cappuccino to accompany her cake, which we had both chosen before our sandwiches had even arrived! We ordered a raspberry crumble muffin and a pear and lavender cake. It was rather disconcerting to have our food served in paper bags, even when we were obviously sitting in and I hope they do provide plates in the future. Having said this when we asked at the counter if they had a knife so we could cut our cakes in half to share, they were happy to cut them for us and provide plates.
Both cakes were delicious. The muffin was light, fruity and the topping crumble sweet and crispy whilst the pear and almond cake was deliciously moist, the lavender a pleasing compliment to the pear. There is always the risk that lavender can overwhelm other flavours, but the small sprinkling didn’t, its flowery essence gave a little hit every now and again.
The staff were friendly and there was no hint of discord, or any attempt to hurry us as my friend and I sat and chatted endlessly.
I really hope the Shoreditch Grind finds its feet and establishes itself. It is a welcome addition and a great antidote to the indistinct tedium of the Starbucks and Cafe Nero’s of this world. The only reason we popped into Starbucks on the way out was to use the loo. As soon as ‘the Grinds’ are up and running there will no longer be a need to even go near the place!
Shoreditch Grind can be found at;
213 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NR
020 7490 7490