IN recent weeks Coffee Cult has found itself frequenting a certain type of café with a particular demographic. We call it the ‘takeaway set’, those requiring coffee instantaneously, preferably through a drip connected to their veins.
Their cafes of choice are not places for long, lazy brunches spent lolling in cushioned comfort over the weekend papers. Rather, they are the kind of places favoring efficiency of turnover — designed for lining up customers in height order, pushing your heads back and pouring the creamy caffeine straight down your gullets. With a pat on the back, and a banana bread in your back pocket, you’re back out the door and yelling ‘sell, sell, sell’ down your crackberry before even drawing a breath.
That’s why, in choosing this week’s location, Coffee Cult demanded a return to the lazy art of brunching. A place where one could while away a few hours, hands clutched dreamily around the one cup of cappuccino. Six hours, three coffees and two sizeable meals later, and we really only have just scratched the surface of what Long White Cloud has to offer.
The interior of Long White Cloud looks remarkably like…. a long, white cloud. White walls, tiled floors, a space that is long, thin and crowded with different types of wooden tables and chairs. And plants, lots of plants. Where there are no plants? Photos of plants — a mini-exhibition and a nod of support to the local East London community.
It feels like one for the locals. From the view overlooking the graffitied art on the wall over the road to the eclectic soundtrack that ranges from 90s power ballads through to acid jazz, it is a café where unrecognizable faces become familiar friends over the course of many “all you can eat pasta nights” on Monday or Tuesdays or long brunches on the weekend.
It is the first time I have seen an egg-white omelet outside self-conscious dieting fad embracing Sydney. With your choice of filling — I am recommended feta and eggplant (aubergine for those who have naturalized) — and it is a winner. Packed full and deliciously light. Its relative health benefits mean I would feel much less guilty about indulging in any of the cakes available — and the individually wrapped TimTams for those needing a fix.
In any case, two excellent coffees turn into four long hours with the free Wifi and our laptop, and it’s already time for lunch. A flaky salmon fishcake is hearty, healthy and nicely browned into a crispy shell. With a choice of freshly made salads to go on the sides, including lentils and a vegetarian cous cous, it’s a menu that would satisfy even the most diehard organic, vegan nut.
The traditional Maori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa, is often translated as “land of the long white cloud”. Plus, having been started by New Zealanders, it would be difficult to pretend Long White Cloud is anything but Kiwi through and through. Luckily, for the purposes of Coffee Cult, it counts.
Gluten and dairy free options, different themed dinner nights every day of the week and a relaxed attitude to those who stop in for one coffee and instead set up shop for a whole day. One for the locals, and Coffee Cult is glad they live nearby.
Long White Cloud
151 Hackney Road
By Alex Ivett