CREAM is a “daytime canteen”. It’s the latest project from creative agency Protein, on a nondescript street in Shoreditch, a couple of doors down from trendy gym Frame.
This is Shoreditch, so obviously ‘warehouse chic‘ is the décor of choice – white-washed brick, concrete floors and a corrugated frontage provide the backdrop to lots of foliage, a solid concrete bar and a show-stealing art deco lighting feature – an array of Plumen lightbulbs, encased in orange glass that sway slightly overhead.
I visit on a Saturday, for a late breakfast and a coffee-fuelled blogging session. A beautifully designed but bossy poster quickly puts a stop to that though, proclaiming NO LAPTOPS AT WEEKENDS. Unusual in this day and age, perhaps – so forced relaxation is the order of the day.
I sit at a long unvarnished wooden table, on a lightweight metal chair with a woven seat. Soon, another hungry laptop-toting guy joins my table, and is swiftly told to stow his MacBook too. So I’m not the only accidental rule-breaker!
Food, coffee and fresh-pressed juices are prepped in a very small kitchen, making the great-looking culinary creations that come out of it all the more impressive. A pour over Workshop coffee is my poison (served in a cute Hario glass jug), and I order a bowl of Bircher muesli from the pink-haired waitress.
Poached salmon with kim chi, ricotta and banana on brioche, and chorizo omelette are all tempting too (£8-£12; the menu changes regularly) – as are the piles of fresh sandwiches, cakes and brownies on the concrete bar. My table companion tucks into lamb cutlets, stunningly presented on a salsa verde.
I pay up (just £8) and, after a quick wander into the adjoining modern art gallery, head out into Shoreditch (into a downpour with no umbrella, in fact…) to find somewhere that’s pro laptops, though undoubtedly the coffee and food won’t be as good as CREAM’s, nor the hipster factor anywhere near as high!
31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, EC2A 3EY