24 June 2016

A Cracking Brunch at The Good Egg

Stoke Newington is surprisingly difficult to get to from Bermondsey especially, it turns out, when there are part closures on the Overground and there is a road race taking place in the City. Nonetheless, I had been wanting to go for brunch at The Good Egg for some time and so I made my way as far as my bus would take me (Newington Green) and walked the last mile or so through leafy N16. It probably goes without saying but my brunch was well worth the journey.

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.

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