Unlike other places we've reviewed for the blog, Black Cat Café is somewhere that that we already know and love, and we felt it was about time we told you why! We've come here in the past for birthday dinners and weekend brunches, and we've loved it every time. The food is always such high quality and also very reasonably priced, and the friendly and welcoming staff make it a lovely relaxing environment to be in. Every time we end up going to Black Cat, we always leave feeling completely full and satisfied, in the same sort of way when you have finished a delicious meal that's been cooked for you by friends.
We first came across Black Cat Café a few years ago, and on our first visit we went to try their tofish and chips, which is to date still the best tofish I have ever had. And every time we have returned, we have had the pleasure of trying something new, as their menu is constantly changing to make the best of the ingredients they have in that day. For this reason, it is always worth checking their social media, or calling up to see what they have on, but regardless of what they're cooking up, it's going to be delicious!
On this occasion we decided to go there for breakfast. We had previously been to black cat for breakfast after seeing a post about their croissants and deciding that we had to try them. They are made at Benk and Bo Bakery, who are in constant conversation with Black Cat Café about ways that they can improve them, which seems impossible, but they somehow manage it! We took a seat at a table by the window and approached the counter to see what goodies they had in today. Greeted by both almond croissants and pain au chocolat, and being unable to choose between the two, we got one of each! To go with them I ordered my usual black americano and Freya tried one of their iced oat milk lattes. Both the croissants and coffees were superb. Freya's iced oat milk latte was perfectly balanced by the ratio of coffee to oat milk, creating a refreshing and creamy coffee. The pain au chocolat was no JusRoll fiasco, it was crispy, flaky, and everything you would ever want a croissant to be. The ridges across the top created more surface area, creating extra room for the pasty to become delicate and crisp. The almond croissant was delicious too, it reminded me of a pre-veganism holiday we took to Paris, where each morning we would stop past the corner bakery and pick up the most amazing almond croissants and a coffee for breakfast as we strolled the Parisian streets.
We ordered the Black Cat Fry-Up and the Healthy Plate. Now you may be thinking from the names alone that the fry-up would be the larger and more substantial meal than the healthy plate, and I wouldn’t blame you for this assumption because it seems to be this way in so many other places. The healthy plate at Black Cat Café however is much more of a full, nourishing meal that will fill you up with all sorts of different healthy salads. The one we had came with tomato and cucumber salad, mixed leaves, slaw, black rice with coriander, chopped veg, mint and agave, giant cous cous with roasted veggies, a macaroni pesto salad, a cashew cream, two different types of hummus and some fresh homemade bread. My favourite thing about this dish was was the super silky cashew cream, made from a combination of silken tofu and blended cashews. It went perfectly with all of the other parts of the salad, especially the macaroni and the giant couscous, working almost as a binder to get a full forkful.
For anyone who lives in this area of London, I am sincerely jealous. Between the Lele’s Full English and The Black Cat Fry-up, Hackney boasts the best vegan breakfasts London has to offer! For me, the shining star that made the Black Cat Fry-up so special was the baked beans. I know that sounds a little silly, but they were seasoned with the most beautiful barbecue flavour. We asked for the secret, and it turns out they added onion, garlic, mustard and smoked paprika, with fresh coriander on top. I did notice that the beans were placed in their own separate bowl as part of the meal, which I always appreciate so the rest of your food isn’t swimming in beans! I mentioned the Lele’s breakfast before, because much like theirs, you can add an optional Vegusto sausage to the Black Cat Fry-up, which for £1.50 bringing the total of the dish to £10.00, and is worth every penny!
What I think makes Black Cat Café so special is how the business functions as a workers co-operative. This means that the people who make the decisions, are the people who are directly connected with the customers, so they know exactly what is needed to make the it so great. Everyone working there is so invested in making sure you are eating the best food possible and having the best experience possible, which we think really shines through everything they do. Black Cat Café is one of my go to recommendations any time someone asks me about vegan food (or any food for that matter) in London. It is great for a small breakfast, a large brunch, an evening meal, or just a coffee as you work on your laptop. If you are ever around Hackney, you should definitely pop in, they're open every day except Tuesday.
WHO’S IT FOR:
Anyone looking for an excellent coffee and croissant (on the weekends)
People looking for fresh and healthy food that doesn't scrimp on portion size
People looking for a place to have one of the best vegan fry-ups in London
Black Cat Cafe
76A Clarence Rd, London E5 8HB
020 8985 7091
Have you ever been to Black Cat Cafe? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought. Leave us a comment, like, or share this post with your friends.