Monday, 8 October 2012

Hackney Croissant Watch #1

Weekend breakfast is important. It's the big thing that demarcates the week from the weekend, where breakfast is a leisurely and enjoyable pursuit, rather than just fuel to accompany the Today Programme while you try and wake up.

I love food rituals – the comfort of familiar tastes and sensations. When we lived in Newington Green we had on our doorstop (in the view of many) the best viennoiseries and green grocers for miles around – Le Belle Epoque and NewingtonGreen Fruit and Vegetables. So most weekends one of us would pop out to get some croissants and berries, while the other would get the coffee on.

The croissants at Le Belle Epoque were amazing. I have literally never had such good croissants as those ones, especially their weighty almond croissants – a veritable meal. But now that we've shifted two miles East, it's a bit of a schlepp that you don't want to do every weekend.

Over in E5, croissants aren't so much in the DNA of the area. But there is no shortage of cafes selling them, so I'll be charting my experiences eating my way through the neighbourhood's pastry options.

First up, the recently opened Dreyfus Cafe at the corner of Clapton Square and Lower Clapton Road. Dreyfus Cafe is describing itself as both a cafe and bakery – focusing in particular on the cuisine from around the Baltic Sea. I've also been following their setup and opening on twitter eagerly, and I know they have ambitions of baking their own croissants etc eventually.

For now, they are happy with their supplier – and I am too. We each had a plain croissant and a pain au chocolat – you could taste the quality of the butter and the flour, and were just the right denisty – nicely chewy, not too heavy; substantial. At £1.50 for a plain and £1.80 for chocolate, prices are a little higher than Le Belle Epoque – and not quite hitting that (admittedly VERY high) bar. But still very good, and we've already been back.

They hadn't ordered in almond croissants that day, and I cleared out their last four at about 10.30am. But it's early days and I look forward to sampling the almond next time they have them in.

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