The Good Egg is the kind of all-day neighbourhood restaurant that every neighbourhood should have. The menu has influences from Israel, Montreal and New York, and despite the restaurant's name, there isn't a preponderance of eggs on the menu. (Spoiler alert: I did order an egg dish, of course.) No bookings are taken for brunch and when I arrived at around 12.30 on Sunday, there was already a not insignificant queue. But it was a nice day and the line moved fairly swiftly (especially when the group of six in front of me decided to try their luck elsewhere instead) and before long, I was sitting inside scrutinising the menu.
I had been looking forward to trying the watermelon and mint juice but they had run out, so I went for a homemade mint lemonade (£3) instead and a macchiato (£2.20). The coffee is from south-London-based Volcano Coffee Works; there was a single-origin filter coffee on offer too. The macchiato was very nice, though, with a rich, strong flavour.
Most of the brunch dishes sounded great: creative and well-thought-out. I could at least rule out the cherry pancakes with orange blossom, delicious as they sounded, because I was hoping to have a sweet treat to follow a savoury brunch main. The bacon and date pita tempted me, as did the Montreal smoked meat hash, but in the end I ordered the shakshuka (£9): a gorgeous combination of baked eggs, roasted tomatoes and peppers, with lemon yoghurt, sourdough bread and merguez sausage. The shakshuka was really top notch: flavoursome, full of contrasting tastes and very filling.
I had hoped to finish my meal with a slice of babka — a sweet, brioche-like cake with dried fruit and nuts — which, in its resting place on the counter near the door, had been calling my name while I was at the front of the queue. I asked for a slice to take away but — alas! — they had served the last slice of the third and final babka. Somehow, though, my waitress rustled me up a slice (£4), which I enjoyed later.
The Good Egg has a lovely relaxed vibe, and the food and service are both very good indeed. After brunch, I wandered along the lovely Stoke Newington Church Street, which is home to dozens of other hip eateries, as well as some great independent shops like Nook at no 153; Search & Rescue at no 129; Design Store at no 111; Prep (a cookshop) at no 106; and Pictures & Light at no 41. I had hoped to visit a nearby speciality coffee shop, China Plate Espresso, but they were closed. Oh well; I'll just have to come back to Stoke Newington again soon.
The Good Egg. 93 Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16 0AS (Stoke Newington rail). Website. Twitter. Instagram.