The bus ride from Bermondsey to Hoxton is a slow one but when you know there is a good brunch waiting for you at the other end, the trip is well worth it, even on a cold, grey Sunday morning. And so it came to pass that I finally got my act together and paid a visit to Embassy East, a cosy neighbourhood café on Hoxton Street, just south of Regent's Canal. I left home slightly later than planned and there were a few people standing outside the café when I arrived but fortunately, they weren't in a queue and I was able to walk straight in and nab a table near the coffee bar.
Embassy East is pretty small: there are only about 20 covers, mostly at the two- and four-person tables that occupy most of the dining area, although there are also a few seats at the window. The décor is rustic and homey with wooden furniture and a muted colour palette. The La Marzocco sits on the bar, sharing counter space with an assortment of delicious-looking sweet things.
I was more interested in the savoury food items, however. The menu has a big selection of breakfast, lunch and brunch dishes, from granola, to haggis toasties to 'eggs and meat' (poached or scrambled eggs, with bacon, sausage, haggis and tomato). Predictably, I ordered the poached eggs on toast (£5) and started with a Chemex-brewed filter coffee (£3).
The eggs were perfectly poached and came on some tasty sourdough bread, garnished with a generous helping of dill and rock salt. It was a simple and subtle twist on a classic and one I enjoyed very much.
The Chemex brew was excellent too. Embassy East uses Assembly coffee and they were serving a Burundi varietal I hadn't tried before but which was fruity, flavoursome and very drinkable. I followed the filter coffee with a piccolo shooter, which was also very good.
At Sunday brunchtime, Embassy East was busy and bustling but not too hectic and I never felt rushed by the friendly Kiwi baristas. I love neighbourhood cafés that marry an obsessive emphasis on quality of food and drink in such a relaxed, casual setting and Embassy East definitely fits the bill.
Embassy East. 285 Hoxton Street, London, N1 5JX (Hoxton or Haggerston Overground). Website. Twitter. Instagram.