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Albion (Restaurant)

Picture of Albion in Shoreditch, London

2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London, E2 7DD
Cuisine: Cafe
Tel: 020 7729 1051 | Email to Albion | Transport: Liverpool Street | Write review

Albion Review

Albion is featured in these Guides:

Best for: good ol' fashioned grub.

Great: for people watching.

High Fidelity style guide to my Top 3 Caffs in the UK:

3. Millennium Cafe on Holloway Road. They don't judge you (outwardly,
at least) for going in wearing last night’s clothes with cat whiskers drawn on your face. And their hash browns rock.

2. Glasgow's Heart of Buchanan. Three words: Haggis. For. Breakfast.

1. Albion Caff – housed within Shoreditch's so-trendy-it-makes-you-want-to-shoot-yourself-and-all-those-around-you Boundary project.

Now, dear reader, I'll level with you. Shoreditch isn't my usual stomping ground of choice. Not with the abundance of art school/fashionista/Nathan Barley media types milling about. Being a journalist myself, I appreciate the irony of the previous statement. But this sentiment does appear to be a shared one.

“Just out of Shoreditch station, with you in five. P.S. I wish I'd remembered to cut my hair at a jaunty angle before coming out here.” So read the text from the friend for whom I was waiting on one of Albion's highly sought after pavement tables, playing my two favourite Hackney-based people-watching games: Trendy or Lesbian; and Spot the Onesie.

Given Albion's uber cool location, there was, of course, an abundance of vintage bicycles, underwear as outerwear, headscarves, bold prints and 1940s Parisian style facial hair. These kids don't do minimalism. Which makes Albion - with its stark interior design and tendency towards simplistic yet salubrious food - stand out from its fussier contemporaries. Albion’s aim is to provide good old-fashioned British ‘caff’ food; nothing overtly challenging or complex, just wholesome, hearty grub. And at this, they thoroughly succeed.

Albion is Terence - of Bluebird and Quaglino’s fame - Conran's latest venture. The converted Victorian warehouse space comprises of a restaurant, rooftop bar, guest rooms as well as Albion, the café-themed, yet remarkably upmarket, eatery. Albion itself is made up of two parts: a bakery/grocers shop towards the front and a casual but the sophisticated cafe at the rear.

The shop is a foodie’s dream, and I spent a fair whack of time dribbling over the baked goods and pursuing the shelves piled high with displays of cheese, jams, chutneys, biscuits, meat and veg. Old-fashioned picnic baskets packed to the brim with sumptuous treats can also be purchased to take away; the very prospect of which nearly made me hyperventilate.

Dribbling, perusing and hyperventilating well and truly exhausted, I sauntered back to my table to await previously aforementioned (and completely incapable of ever being on time) friend. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a couple flirting outrageously outside. Hang on a minute; that's my tardy friend! And she's touching the bicep of a man with an asymmetric haircut. Traitor.

"He gave me his phone number," she giggled into her Hendrix and elderflower water when I finally manage to drag her away from him. "And he has a tattoo of an anchor. Behind his ear."

TAXI!

I spent the next 15 minutes pouting and pushing my food around my plate, trying to look as if I wasn't enjoying it (not an easy task when the food in question is a plate full of divine British charcuterie) while my 'friend' waxed lyrical about Andreas and how he had chased after her when she dropped her iPhone coming out of the station.

Eventually, she changed the subject and mused that - given how light, airy and spacious Albion's dining hall is, she felt as though she wasn't in London, but perhaps the hip, arty, New York neighbourhood Williamsburg. A vast improvement in terms of conversation, I noted. "Andreas lives in London Fields. He's just moved here from Brooklyn."

Sigh.

But she did have a point. With it's mix of brick and white walls, and an open kitchen running across one side of the room -  Albion's somehow manages to pull off smart, chic and basic. There's also a myriad of clever, retro touches - such as cutlery displayed in empty Lyle’s Golden Syrup tins.

In fact, these small touches would come somewhere on my list of my 3 favourite things about Albion. Others would be: the breakfasts and brunches (yes I've been back here for breakfast, see next paragraph...); the fact that most of the food comes in at under a tenner; and that the crowd who frequent Albion are no more fashionable/pretentious than anywhere else in London. There I said it. Happy now?

Update: tardy friend is seeing Andreas (actual name: Adam). I am dating his flatmate, Mathias. Mathias lives round the corner from The Boundary Project and has just returned from a year long trip around South East Asia. His plan going forward is to open his own vinyl shop specialising in Cambodian 60s rock. Hypercritical? Me? Never? Now where did I leave my headscarf...?
...read more

Customer Reviews for Albion

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Albion.

“well this conran outing in the east looks beautiful from the outside but if you can manage to get the surly staff to bother to find you a table (in between furtive prancing and canoodling) the attractively retro Brit menu looks daringly minimalist - when the food arrives however, you begin to recall just why we dont eat like that any more...doorstep white bread, fatty cold pork sandwiches with too much butter, a nice bit of fruitcake and an overpriced pot of tea are hardly worth the angst - if you really want to eat like this go round grandpa's - at least he'll be pleased to see you!!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
richibich, plymouth (7 years 17 days ago)

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Venue ID: 20305

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Loved

"Went to their website and got a free entry pass which saved £15. Had a great night with a girl called Penny. I will be going back and therefor recommend this place with top marks." Which venue is this?

Hated

"I totally love this place, its a bit old fashioned in a good time warp way with a feeling like being in a friends home but the food is better, it just feels safe and welcoming and you instantly feel a..." Which venue is this?

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