When it comes to the quirkier ideas in life, there is bound to be some difference of opinion. And, let’s face it, while London is not only home to some of the most incredible historic structures, palaces and renowned attractions in the world, this city really knows how to embrace its quirky side.
But who knew that something as innocent sounding as a ‘cereal cafe’ could prompt such an immediate – and wildly varied – response? The last few months of 2014 had numerous London publications stating their love or thinly-veiled hatred of the concept.
The brainchild of Irish twins Gary and Alan Keery, Cereal Killer Cafe officially opened its doors in December last year. And I, for one, couldn’t wait to visit Cereal Killer Cafe – London’s only cafe focusing solely on this breakfast staple – from the moment I first heard about it.
Where do I fall within the spectrum of the ensuing debate? I’ll get to that later.
Our visit fell within the last days of December. To be fair, it was lunch time, but that didn’t stop us from wanting to see what all the fuss was about.
It was a busy day on Brick Lane and, since the cafe doesn’t do bookings, we were a little concerned about being able to get a table.
Located at number 139, the black exterior of Cereal Killer Cafe doesn’t give much away, with only the slightest splash of colour from the bright logos spaced above the windows. Inside, however, is a completely different matter.
Imagine that a sugary box of cereal exploded on the walls of the cafe, and you’ll be close to describing it perfectly. The massive wall of cereal, with boxes upon boxes of ones that I’d never heard of before, is the first thing that got my attention.
|Cereal enthusiasts – prepare to be hit by a massive bout of indecision!|
The second attention-grabber would have to be the cereal-related memorabilia used as the cafe’s decor. From old-school milk bottles to toys to portraits made using pieces of cereal, with a cheeky play on the cereal/serial killer wording, the cafe doubles up as a mini museum.
|An assortment of cereal-related memorabilia.|
|And even more cereal – love the cameos by the owners in the top row!|
There was a queue ahead of us, but this moved surprisingly quickly. Soon, it was time for us to order. To complicate matters, not only is there a selection of over 120 types of cereal from all over the world, you can also customise your choice with flavoured milk and toppings.
In addition, the cafe offers a number of cereal ‘cocktails’, which are really just blends of cereals and toppings that they’d recommend. If you’re not looking for cereal, you can order toast, Pop Tarts or even cereal-inspired cakes.
Clearly interpreting our looks of panic for indecision, we were rescued by the super friendly and helpful staff behind the counter. After describing the sorts of cereals we liked, their recommendation for me was a limited-edition Halloween cereal from the States called Boo-Berry, coupled with vanilla milk.
Chris wanted something more interesting, so he chose one of the cocktails, aptly named Unicorn Poop (you’ll soon see why!).
You can choose the size of your portion, but most of these (including the rarer varieties) cost between £2.50 and £3.50.
Carrying our trays downstairs, we picked one of the empty tables, complete with a set of mismatched chairs, and got to the matter of tasting our selections.
Boo-Berry was delicious. Think blueberry and mini marshmallows, rounded off with milk subtly flavoured with vanilla. If you think that sounds overly sweet, wait until you see Chris’…
|My beloved Boo-Berry in the foreground.|
|Is this what unicorn poop would look like? I’m thinking yes.|
|*Incoming*: Sugar rush.|
Enjoying the ever-increasing buzz from our sugary snacks and listening to the cheesy, feel-good pop music coming from the speakers, I made up my mind about Cereal Killer Cafe right then.
Is Cereal Killer Cafe just another London gimmick? Maybe. Is it hipster? Undoubtedly. But, for somewhere that could have easily been so, it all felt wonderfully unpretentious. We had perfect service, top recommendations and – most importantly – a rather fun afternoon. What more could you want?
|An ideal seat for those wanting to do some people watching.|
As for the whole price issue, with some saying that these are set way too high for this particular neighbourhood, I can say that I’ve spent much, much more on a breakfast meal or cafe snack in all parts of London, Shoreditch included.
Cereal Killer Cafe, I’ll definitely be back for more!
Find out more about the cafe, including its location, on the website.