Having watched month after month of renovation and hearing a number of rave reviews of the small chain I couldn’t wait to see what the new Albion in Clerkenwell would have to offer, as well as heading there to try out their menu. In only the second week of being open breakfast was booked and off we went, arriving in enough time to have a nose around the grocery store section of the cafe.
The small grocery store has a range of luxury food items either for the cupboard at home or to pick up and eat fresh that day. From pastries to dairy and chutneys to chocolate you will find an array of different and more commonly known brand items, slightly inflated price wise than your local retailer however. I couldn’t help but think “If only this colourful and exotic salad would not only fill me up every day for lunch but also be affordable” – maybe one day!
Heading over to the cafe section of the restaurant I waited my turn and asked to be shown to the table my colleague had booked only to be told that there was no reservation that had been made. Panicking slightly as our client was due to arrive very shortly and knowing that we were a fairly large party of six the waiter informed me he would see what he could do and disappeared. Showing me over to one of the nicest tables in the restaurant in a little booth near the kitchen I was very happy as was everyone else when they joined. It is worth noting that the reservation had most definitely been made and my colleague had email confirmation of this, somehow we had been booked in for the day prior by mistake. Luckily they were able to fit us in and you have to allow for small teething problems at a new opening right!
Once our full party arrived coffee orders were taken then served, followed by our breakfast options. *Warning* be careful with your teapot should you order tea, they are bizarrely made from metal and get extremely hot, try not to burn your fingers removing the lid to give your tea a stir before pouring.
The menu has a range of cooked and cold breakfasts with healthy options and cereals, I opted for the Sweet potato chilli hash with spinach and organic poached eggs. Firstly because it was under the ‘Healthy Options‘ section of the menu and secondly because I enjoy a little kick in my breakfasts. Unfortunately the latter of these two reasons for my choice did not come to fruition. There was no sign of any chilli flavour whatsoever and having got my heart set on getting a little kick from this dish I found myself adding Tabasco sauce. That being said the rest of the breakfast was an absolute delight. The sweet potato hash was quite chunky but cooked well and the poached eggs were perfectly runny with a rich orange yolk.
We also had a mess up with one of the orders on our table and they were given a bowl of mushrooms as their dish. Yes just a bowl of mushrooms … bizarre! Personally if I had taken that order I would’ve questioned I had heard correctly because people don’t generally just order mushrooms. This didn’t take too long to resolve but was a little uncomfortable if I’m honest.
The slightly messy and not too polished experience won’t necessarily put me off from going back to the Albion, but at the same time it wasn’t quite what I expected. Let’s hope the Pie Room downstairs delivers a better meal and service, I may leave it a couple of weeks for teething problems to settle though.
Albion, Turnmills, 63 Turnmill Street, London EC1M 5RR
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