I headed to this temple to all things cycling for a quick lunch – I’ve heard tell of their baked goods so thought I’d swing by, a second class citizen on foot, and indulge.
This is so East London. Even though it’s on the City/Clerkenwell fringes, the amount of fixed gear bikes, the early Arcade Fire in the air and the rollie-smokers posing on picnic tables outside puts you firmly in E2 or these days probably E8. Inside it’s a mix of modern bike shop and a museum to cycling memorabilia and artwork, but overwhelmingly a café space.
They sell booze for the evenings (well selected beers from Meantime, Bath Ales and some smaller Belgian breweries) and breakfasts, but I’m here for the pies. Alongside steak & cheese, thai green curry chicken and a few butternut squash veggie ones , the chilli beef and cheddar (£4.95 solo, £7.95 with a plate of mixed fancy salads) calls to me. It’s a shame the servers don’t…as my order is forgotten.
15 minutes later (they are not to order but pre-cooked and refrigerated by the till) and I check on my pie’s arrival. The servers are apologetic and aghast (almost worryingly so) and my pie takes another few minutes – reassuringly long enough to have gone in the oven I clocked, rather than a backstage microwave for brevity.
I’m comped some salad (I went for pie only) and offered a coffee on my way out, as well as more contrition. I almost feel bad now, but am also too hungry to worry about it – which is why the pie goes un-photographed. Oops. The pie indeed tastes homemade, the chilli has a bit of piquant but not too much, and it’s cheesy.
My long black is Square Mile, nice and small as it should be, and well pulled. I think this places needs the benefit of the doubt – an honest mistake is more than compensated, they seem to care very much and juggle the café/bar with the bike repair and supplies functions rather seamlessly. And I don’t feel as unwelcome as a suit in Shoreditch, all smart and bike-less on my lunch break.
Food – 7/10
Drink – 8/10
Service – 5/10 (have to mark it down on my own experience, but I imagine it’s usually much better)
Value – 7/10
Staff Hotness – 6/10 (not as sporty looking as you might think, more WI…)
Look Mum No Hands!
49 Old Street, EC1