After spending the last three years adrift in the culinary wasteland that is White City, it’s quite a shock to be somewhere with decent cafes to try out on a lunch break when I’m selling my soul working (god, the things I would love to share about my work, but sadly cannot). Still, it’s all in notebooks (or in the draft emails I pretend to write when getting out my notebook during some priceless exchange is too obvious) and will hopefully find expression one day.
Recently I was working in Shoreditch. The character of the place is completely different during the day. Different places come out and shine – and others, like this massage parlour, below, and Shoreditch’s many lap dancing clubs frequented by local city bankers, the subject of much debate recently, are busy all the time.
I’ve made it my business to visit some of them on my lunchbreaks (not the massage parlours, obviously). Which is how I stumbled across a lovely cafe which is only open during the week from 8-4. It’s called Menu and it’s on Luke Street, just a few narrow lanes away from Great Eastern Street.
I tried the sticky toffee pudding, and it’s well worth the detour. I have also smelled its bacon sandwich as it was consumed by a nearby, very hungover colleague and that, too, was pretty bloody aromatic. They also do New York scrambled eggs with cream and smoked salmon and for lunch, things like Calve’s liver with bacon and onion in red wine sauce and Sardines with orange and rosemary, for around a tenner. In short, good food at honest prices. The room is nice, too, with olive green walls and dark wood tables.
The kitchen is open, which suggests a confident pinch of chefs in the kitchen (is there a proper collective noun for them?) and the presentation is lovely, too, in a slightly child’s-finger-painting way. It’s well hidden but makes a good alternative from all the chain food stores of Great Eastern Street if you’re in the area on a weekday.
Menu, 74 Luke Street, London, EC2A 4PY
(020) 7613 1230