‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’
Easy to believe on a sleepy Saturday when you’ve rolled out of bed and into something of the lick-the-plate-clean-it’s-so-good kind (heads up chorizo, avocado and waffles, this is your area) but more of a challenge when it’s a mid-week morning and cardboard cereal, tooth-melting yoghurt pots & dusty slices of toast appear to be your most likely options…hardly the greatest incentive for kicking off your day off in the best way.
Hotter & healthier than Ryan Gosling spread on avocado toast. That, kids, is the holy grail of breakfasting in London so when it comes time to chow down that first meal of the day, head to Stoke Newington and stake your place at The Good Egg.
Nonchalantly confident with an understatedly cool exterior, the Good Egg on Stoke Newington Church Street is having a bit of a moment and deservedly so. The short edit of this review would be ‘excellent food, lovely service, gorgeous interior’ but let’s be honest here, when have you ever known me to use 6 words when a couple of hundred will do nicely instead?
Arriving just as the doors were unlocked made us THOSE people (fellow retail survivors will know what I mean) but you’d never have known that from the warm welcome offered as we stepped into a light and airy space. Within thirty minutes of a 9am Tuesday morning arrival, every table was dressed with Lululemon, Petite Bateau & Apple while those lucky enough to have a weekday morning free to mooch away in the bright, sunny windows with a flat white & persimmon jam slathered sourdough received a glance or two of unbridled envy.
The Good Egg began life as a pop up in 2013 and when word quickly spread of dishes like the spicily comforting Shakshuka, their ascendance began. Run by a team including ex-Ottolenghi alumni & top notch baker Oded Mizrachi and chefs Joel Braham, Alex Coppard & Myles Broscoe, the personal touches run deep through the dining room and the menu.
Whitewashed walls are shelved and heavy with preserved lemons, sacks of grain and jars of amba mango pickle while a slate-grey breakfast bar has platters of freshly baked apple & custard pastries piled next to baked-good-du-jour, babka loaves which were thick with ribbons of chocolate & cinnamon.
The best people to brunch with are those who order snacks to nibble on while the main plates are coming. Thankfully that’s exactly the kind of gal I was with on this visit meaning that a slab of babka went down a treat; damp, soft & perfect for pulling apart and devouring with a pot of tea.
I’m a little bit enamoured of the fact that the menu has a Jewish-Israeli, traditional-yet-modern twist on everything in it; croissants are sweetly flavoured with halva and pitas are packed with aubergine, chillis & pickle.
The Jerusalem Plate married together bourekas (Middle Eastern pies) that are silky, flaky and light with creamy tahini, gorgeously sour pickles and deeply rich boiled eggs. Goat’s cheese & pepper made for an indulgently oozy filling while the crunchy tang of salad was the perfect pairing with layers of golden pastry.
The Bacon & Date Pita filled with bacon, marbelized egg, date jam and amba mango pickle has to be my new favourite breakfast in London though. Cloud light and dusty with flour, the pita was light years away from dry, creaky supermarket renditions and the chutney was sweet, sticky and satisfying. Give me a good chutney and I’ll give you a list of all the things it won’t go well with…
…nothing. There will be nothing on that list.
The amba mango pickle here is absolutely awesome and a million miles away from the thick, perfumed, cloying dollops that seep through your poppadums and onto your chicken tikka. Sharp, thin & smooth, its flavour slices through the egg & bacon with ease, giving you a hit of Rainbow-Bright flavour that’s tangy and a little bit special.
My advice is get to the Good Egg soon and get there early. Be prepared to queue at the weekend but do so in the knowledge that it’s totally worth it plus, it’ll give you time to clear space on the old camera roll for your impending Instagram-fest.
In a sea of overpriced and oversized breakfast plates that leave you staggering out in search of a bench and in need of a nap, Egg’s fresh & personal take on starting the day in Middle Eastern style is a breath of fresh air.