Dalston Emporium, Kingsland High Road

First visited: Sunday 12th August 2012

Interior: Sometimes the biggest disappointments come when there’s a mismatch between the food and the decor. Dalston Emporium, one of a number of cafes which have sprung up to serve coffee to Dalston’s new young cool people and their hangovers, is lovely inside: wood, flyers, just enough natural light, sofas, yes, but tables too. The service wasn’t a match for it, alas, with items forgotten (and weirdly, accompanied by a ‘nobody told me you wanted the croissant, wasn’t my fault’ when it finally arrived) and nobody bothering to tell us that if we wanted dressing for our salad it was available next to the counter. And, gosh. It’s expensive.

Food: Although weekdays the Emporium proudly advertises full Englishes, on Sundays the only cooked breakfast they offer is scrambled eggs, with cheese or smoked salmon, on toast. For £4.50, you get exceedingly dry scrambled eggs (microwaved?) dusted with dry parmesan served on supermarket sliced brown, with a few lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes and no dressing (see above). What makes this incomprehensible (apart from the price: remember juice and hot beverages are additional to this, as was 2 extra slices of buttered factory brown at a cost of £1.50) is that Dalston Emporium sell a number of quality food items: olive oil, bottled artichokes – and really good, decent bread. Good enough to sell to take home, but not to serve to customers. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was with this breakfast, in a way I wouldn’t have been if it had been featureless or filthy. And did I mention the price? Not recommended.

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