NEVER has an event been so anticipated in London’s history. No, Coffee Cult is not talking about Thatcher’s funeral, but the 19C day that had been predicted for last Sunday.
Ever since weather announcers shared the news with the gleeful delight of a small child diving headfirst into a vat of fairy floss, Londoners everywhere spent the week checking and rechecking their I-phone weather apps with religious devotion. Reassuring themselves that no, it wasn’t in fact some government conspiracy to distract us all from attending ‘celebration parties’ in Trafalgar Square but instead a genuine, real, legitimate, double digit degree day. One deserving of a different type of celebration party — in a park, outside, in the fresh spring air. Dare I say it, possibly even without a coat.
It was approached with the hyped enthusiasm of teenagers hanging out for the latest instalment of the Twilight Saga. All London conversations suddenly started with the words, “have you heard about Sunday?” Murmurs of sunshine, and spring, and BBQ plans were held in hushed tones across the city. As if announcing it loudly would scare it away and we’d be forever doomed to a Narnia style never-ending winter.
It is therefore safe to say Coffee Cult awoke on Sunday with a sense of anticipation. Not least because of the possible opportunity the day would bring to turn our translucent skin a slightly less reflective shade of white, but also because it heralded another keenly anticipated event — a visit to Salvation Jane in Old Street.
The Craic & Connection
Salvation Jane is the big sister to Fitzrovia’s Lantana — a fellow Australian owned cafe also named after an iconic Australian weed (sensing a theme?). It’s much bigger than Lantana — 65 seats in fact. All of which are empty when I arrive at what appears to be the unusual brunching time of 9.30am. At least there is very loud hip-hop blaring through the speakers to keep me occupied.
Once it fills up Salvation Jane is a lovely space — a big wooden share table dominating the light-filled room, jugs of flowers decorating the tables and a giant wall decal of a climbing plant. With the sun streaming through the windows from the courtyard, it was not a bad place to kick off the day now known as the official start of London’s spring.
Coffee — excellent. What would you expect from the people who also run Lantana? They know what they’re doing in that respect. Breakfast similarly lived up to all expectations, with corn cakes, crÃ¨me fraiche, avocado and bacon proving reliably consistent with the same offering on Lantana’s menu.
However it was the big Portobello mushrooms with thick crispy wedges of polenta, a perfectly poached egg and topped with goat’s cheese that really impressed. Even better than a standard breakfast done well is a breakfast you would never think to make for yourself. It was an unexpectedly perfect combination of flavours.
And, talking of perfect, no visit to Salvation Jane would be complete without a Cherry Ripe slice. For any Aussie desperate for a taste of home, these thick, juicy cherry treats with a crunchy biscuit base are a must.
Like a 19C day in London, Salvation Jane is worth getting excited about. Great coffee, excellent breakfasts and deliciously decadent treats, all in a warm, bright and open space. The only other place you might want to be on a sunny morning is a celebration party in a park — and you can always go there afterwards.
Unit 2, 1 Oliver’s Yard
55 City Rd.
By Alex Ivett