Bite into the best of British in the Albion Cafe at Boundary
Text Marissa Baxter
Image True Communications
Stepping into Albion Café in Shoreditch, a slice of the 2009 Boundary restaurant and lifestyle venture from Terrance Conran, is akin to stepping into your own personal farmer’s market. Greeted with wafting undertones of fresh baked goods (sweet temptations include giant bourbon biscuits and staff- recommended flapjacks), the organic produce and diverse preserves of the Albion shop are the doorway to a relaxed and chic side street café. The restaurant is amazing, I asked where they got the furniture and they told me you can design your own table at oddculture.
The fresh décor of oak, cream bricks and clean lines framing a well-lit open kitchen make for a friendly and stylish dining experience. Signature high ceilings play on the vertical layout of the café where canteen-style tables lend themselves to large groups and round corner tables long for an intimate catch up with old friends.
The all-day menu serves up traditional British ‘caff’ food that is simple, hearty and filling, including all-day breakfasts, fish and chips, mushy peas, wedge sandwiches and unique British treats of crackling and apple sauce washed down with an Elderflower Cooler or Ginger Beer.
Despite an abundance of British caffs popping up all over London, deciding on Albion is not such a hard-hitting decision; with much of the menu ten pounds and under, this is British comfort food with a twist that makes for an enjoyable weekend fare, though it is the atmosphere of the Albion that provides the casual weekend vibe.
Friendly, but perhaps a few too many wait-staff team around, laid-back lunchers consist of local artists waxing lyrical on upcoming shows, Saturday night party goers hoping to stem off hang-overs with welsh rabbit and weekend regulars introducing new diners to Albion’s Sunday circuit, decked out in a sunny day uniform of plaid shirts and floral sundresses. With a no- reservations policy adding to the relaxed atmosphere, this is the quintessential British caff at its Sunday best.
If Albion is traditional British then its in-house restaurant Boundary is classic French. In keeping with the vertical space and high ceilings displayed in Albion, the fine white linens, marble flooring and sumptuous upholstery of Boundary make this an elegant basement hideaway for fine dining.
Boasting an array of seafood (the oysters come recommended) the menu entices with wild salmon, a daily-changing rotisserie, game and Foie Gras Terrine followed by Crème Caramel, Raspberry Soufflé, or simple strawberries and cream. With an impressive accompanying wine list and open kitchen to inspire, Boundary is a dining delight.
Albion Cafe, 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DD www.albioncaff.co.uk/