Our favourite thing to do on a Saturday is spend the day wandering around London. Yesterday we set off on an exotic bus ride from Canary Wharf towards Hackney to explore the east end! We were expecting pop up food stalls, tweed and hipsters, and we found these aplenty! We even decided to amuse ourselves by looking out for east Londoners sporting that new trend, the hipster beard, and keeping a beard count. But what counts as a hipster beard? Charlie insisted that it is a beard that could stand up by itself. I don’t really know what that means either, but that is what we looked out for!
We were looking for an entry in the book called Molly Bakes, which claimed to be a cake pop supplier to celebs and open from 11am – 6pm on Saturdays at Netil Market next to London Fields. This market was small and lovely but we could not see Molly Bakes! Perhaps we were blind, perhaps she took the day off? So we continued our adventure. The London Fields were nice to walk around and we discovered a lots of little market stalls and the larger Broadway Market. An excellent place for foodies in want of street food and independent crafty bits. Sorry to the lady selling the gourmet marshmallows, they were most tasty but I am not paying £1 for one square!
Eventually, after only getting slightly lost but discovering Hackney City Farm then leaving because it doesn’t seem as good as the Surrey Quays version, we arrived at The Albion. This cafe is right near Shoreditch Station and has a little food shop attached. We had to queue for 20 mins to get in! This wasn’t particularly awful because we queued next to the cake selection so we had plenty of time to decide what to have, and as they weren’t in the menu I would positively recommend it as a way of getting a good look at what was on offer. As the queuing suggests, the cafe was rammed. It does English themed meals as well as cakes and afternoon tea and it was worth the wait.
Having looked at the cakes for so long, we ended up going nuts! Well almonds to be more precise. I chose a particularly bright Battenburg and Charlie went for an almond and pear tart. The service was excellent and there was a good vibe about the place, not too noisy despite being full but a good buzz and even though we were in the back we still felt part of the action. The cafe felt quite upmarket at first but it was very friendly and the bottles of tomato ketchup and Oxford sauce on the tables made us feel right at ease.
This was, hands down, the best Battenburg I have ever eaten. Ok, probably some of the only Battenburg I have eaten, but it was delicious. Very almondy, Barbie pink and sunshine yellow, plenty of raspberry jam. Charlie’s tart was a well done frangipane, but he would have liked a little more pear.
Atmosphere: 5.5 /7 (definitely a restaurant rather than a tearoom, but lovely all the same).
Cake: Me 6/7 Charlie: 6/7
Oh, but what about the beard count I hear you ask? Well, stand by itself full hipster beards: 12. Men with trendy facial hair: innumerable.