TOA: The following review was written by reader Brianna. The Porridge Cafe can be found in London, England. If you have a special oatmeal eatery in your stomping grounds, we’d love to hear about your experience!
I am an avid porridge experimenter and heavily dependent on my morning bowl of porridge for that warm-belly-happy-heart feeling. So, I was perhaps a bit inappropriately excited when I saw the news that during March there would be a pop-up cafe dedicated especially to the world’s most versatile and wholesome breakfast foodstuff in Central London.
Their menu changes daily and offers a selection of sweet and savoury porridges with a range of bases, milk and toppings. The setting is trendy: a small cafe with wooden benches topped with potted flowers, bright and airy lighting, upbeat weekend music and colourful prints adorning the walls. The easy, relaxed atmosphere was completed by the staff who were warm and easy-going.
I had persuaded my boyfriend to come along (it wasn’t difficult!) and we were the first customers in when they opened up on a Sunday morning. Keen beans! I decided to go for for dark chocolate, raspberry and lime porridge which was on a buckwheat base and made with coconut milk; my boyfriend had cherry, almond and white chocolate on rye with skimmed milk and honey. We took a seat people watching by the window but didn’t have to wait long until our steaming bowls of happiness arrived. The first thing that struck us was how beautiful they looked, ablaze with vibrant colours from the fresh fruit generously piled on top. We tucked in and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Given that I usually only used oats as a base, I really enjoyed the different texture of buckwheat- it had a really nice bite to it but still keeping the soft comforting texture that I love in porridge. The dark chocolate was less overpowering than I would go for in my own porridge, but to be honest I think that let the fresh lime zest and raspberry really come through much better so I was in a happy place enjoying my breakfast. My boyfriend’s was decadent, with mounds of creamy white chocolate chips, flaked almonds and juicy cherries, that formed a gloriously textured bowl full when he swirled it all together. I’m not sure I could have finished a whole bowl of that one- it was good and rich.
Having looked at their menu I have been inspired to get away from the safety and comfort of my usual rolled oats and try out other grains such as barley, black rice, quinoa, polenta, buckwheat and spelt (to name a few!). Horizons expanded! Again, I have never really been brave enough to branch out into savoury porridge but the flavour combinations on their menu looked very tempting indeed, perhaps on my next visit. Although, I have such a sweet tooth and all of their sweet options looked irresistible- plenty of nuts, nut butter, fresh and dried exotic fruits. I’d especially like to try apricot, persimmon and pistachio or blueberry, ginger and cashew butter. Check all out their sweet and savoury combinations for inspiration here:http://www.porridgecafe.com/
It was a great treat to go out and have such a wholesome and tasty breakfast. The concept that food can be tasty and comforting but still healthful, fresh and natural is certainly catching on and I hope that this pop-up has been enough of a success for it to gain a permanent foot-hold somewhere over here. The Porridge Cafe showcases the versatility of porridge and how it can be a beautifully presented, experimental taste and texture explosion, far from the plain, bland, dated stereotype. I’ve come away with some new ideas and also a sense of inner warmth that there are plenty of other kindred spirits being nourished and sustained by the daily joy of porridge!