Albion is one of those eye catching places if you happen to be in the area. It’s a little bit out of the way from most normal hang outs, so it’s a great find it you’re lucky enough to know someone who’s been there or simply stumbled across it yourself. It’s part of the Terrance Conran Boundary project, and although you can tell it’s been designed very well, it’s definitely not as glitzy as many of other Conran built places (this is a good thing I tell you!).
While the Boundary restaurant is a lot more fine dining, Albion is intentionally built to be an East End Cafe, though its interior easily makes it feel like you’re in Notting Hill or South Kensington. On a fine day like it was today, the canvas covered tables on the pavement were particularly popular with too many people automatically seating themselves at a free table and then politely being informed that there was the quintessential queue to keep everything orderly and low stress.
Fortunately they have lots of other tables inside, easily accommodating small and large groups with a wide variety of tables. For the ever impatient or for those that want to have something on the run, we noticed a constant stream of freshly baked croissants, pastries and breads destined for the small grocery part to the building. From our looks afterwards, that constant stream was needed as there wasn’t that much left when walked by on our way out.
We arrived at about 1pm for a late “brunch” and fortunately there wasn’t anyone in line when we got seated. My mate Luca and I were waiting to meet Frankie and the staff didn’t have any hesitations seating us even without a full party present. We got to order some drinks (they do flat white so bonus points from me!) and the menu to peruse whilst waiting. Whilst I can’t say that their menu was particularly brunch-focused (it’s the same one they use for the dinner service), it had plenty of options for everyone.
I saw one of the sandwiches they had and thought that it looked good enough and large enough for a significant meal. I had the baby gems (a bit outrageous for some leaves and dressing for £2.75) and a small bucket of chips (£3) in addition to the roast beef and horseradish sandwich (£5) which was really plenty of food. If you’re feeling for something even more significant, they do everything from full on breakfast to Kedgeree, Fish and Chips, Rabbit Stew and a Rump Steak.
As you can see, the portion was pretty good value for £5 and it took me a while to eat all the food. Apparently the rump and the omelette were nice but not particularly special.
Overall all I really enjoyed my experience there. It was refreshing to be in a nice environment (even with free wi-fi) without feeling rushed and hassled by staff who are more concerned about the turnaround than making sure that you have a great experience. The nice touches of freshly baked bread served with butter (additional of course) and just friendly service I guess make up for the 12.5% service charge they add on to the bill.
I’ll definitely be coming back here in the future.
Location: Albion, 2-4 Boundary St, Shoreditch, E1 7JE
TheKua.com Rating: 8 out of 10