Most of us mourn the loss of Stock Exchange Bakery. A small room that was half filled with mixers, ovens and kitchen equipment, the other half given over to seating. Sadly they quietly packed off and left and we all waited with baited breath to see what would slip into place.
I was informed via Twitter a “health juice place” had popped up in there and honestly, my heart sank. The last thing I wanted was another cafe trying to turn me onto a raw, liquid diet. I like chewing thanks.
Thankfully what has actually sprung up is White’s Botanicals who, yes, want to feed you good food, but they’re managing to do it without trying to re-aline your chakras or pushing flaxseed smoothies down your neck.
First impressions when I walked in was how light and airy it felt. The windows allowed in so much light despite the miserable weather this Monday afternoon and every spare surface had plants on or swinging off it. I felt like I was in a Henry Rousseau painting.
After a little confusion on where the queue starts (dammit I am British) I ordered the mackerel plate which comes with leaves, roast beetroot and lentils. I also picked up a bottle of proper pressed apple juice and it was only £2. Bargain. Sadly they had run out of lentils but I was offered the choice of something else so went for the potato, dill and gherkin salad, perfect with horseradish mackerel.
The lady behind the counter was really friendly as was the waitress who brought my food, apologising again for the lack of lentils. The plate was generous with toasted, seeded sourdough and butter on the side too! The leaves were a little unwieldy and took some chopping down to effectively push them into my gaping maw but they were fresh, crisp and lightly dressed in vinaigrette. The beetroot were purple jewels, sweet, earthy and great squidged on top of the mackerel which was in turn spread onto the sourdough. The bread itself was pleasant but lacked that strong sour flavour I enjoy at home, but when you are baking on a large scale, I understand.
Overall I couldn’t have been happier with my meal, the staff were all lovely, the cafe itself had a nice mix of students, office workers and other traders popping in and out (Tilly Tomlison Flowers are right next door). Their bottomless granola bowls in the morning are something I will have to head back for and the toasties I saw coming out looked gorgeous and cheesy! They had a nice selection of cakes and a yes, they do juices and smoothies, but it looks like they’re not silly about it. No one is about to suggest you do a cleanse.
I would highly recommend dropping in for a bite to eat and with everything under £8 it’s a bargain.