I lived in Melbourne for a while and it’s no secret that they know their coffee. They also know their brunch so every time I stumble across an Aussie-esque brunch in London I am delighted. Whilst I’d happily grab a takeaway flat white from Shoreditch Grind if I was in the area, I was new to learn of their brunch offerings so one Sunday in December headed east, relying on the Grind to build me back up after the silly season had ground me down.
I needn’t have doubted them. Whilst I had never actually stepped inside I was familiar with it’s Old Street location and it’s rock ‘n’ roll signage which one day will read ‘Welcome to the 74th annual tube strike games’ and the next ‘If you’re reading this it’s too latte’.
A window seat was the perfect perch for Hipster spotting and whilst Sunday morning clearly wasn’t prime time (there are beards that need grooming), we certainly had enough to keep us engaged. The food arrived and our attention was diverted to two highly instagrammable plates of poached eggs and smoked salmon on sourdough, one with smashed avocado and chilli. Feeling slightly fragile, I went for the cautious approach and slowly enjoyed every mouthful of perfectly runny yolk. One red and one amber fresh juice provided another hit of colour to our table. Nothing stingey about these – they were huge and lasted us the whole meal.
Strictly for review purposes, we decided to try something sweet from the menu. Two hunks of warm toasted banana bread fit the bill and with drizzled honey and a dollop of creme fraiche took me right back to the banana bread crazed cafes of Oz.
Because Shoreditch Grind is primarily an espresso bar we had high hopes in the caffeine department. Two flat whites came with swans in the foam and slipped down very well. I would’ve had another but I get the shakes so left it at one. Opened in 2011 by Londoner David Abramovitch and Melbourne-born Kaz James, I could definitely detect the Australian-influence – Kaz wanted to recreate a taste of Melbourne over here so spent months developing a custom blend coffee: the locally roasted Grind House Blend is the result.
Breakfast is served till 5pm on weekends which gets two big thumbs up from me. By night, the Grind shakes up their house espresso blend into martinis and the whole place turns into a cocktail bar, open till 1am on Friday and Saturday. The drinks display is visible even in the morning and a Tracey Emin-esque red neon reads ‘Cocktails, Baby?’ giving you an insight into the evenings antics. If you can’t make it to Old Street then pop into their Soho, Holborn or London Bridge cafés for a shot of caffeine, runny yolk and a whole lot of cool.