For as long as Aunt Berry has been baking and Uncle Cruise has been brewing, they have dreamt about opening up their own sibling-led coffeeshop. It’s a vision that I have actively encouraged over the years, and as I grow ever more tiresome of dentistry (before I’ve even begun to practice it), I too have romanticised about wielding a portafilter for the rest of my days. Alas, our dreams are marred by our own cries of maybes and if-onlys, and deep down, we know that it’s an unrealistic ambition. Or is it?
In 2015, Hackney-born baker Amirah Gajia and her brother Feroz opened the aptly-named Bake Street cafe in Stoke Newington, and since then, they’ve been living the very dream that we have been yearning for. In the short few years that Bake Street has been open, it has grown into something of a local sweetheart, and as one of the few cafes in London to serve both specialty-grade coffee and halal food, they fell firmly within my line of sight.
Note: All the meat served here is certified halal.
Whilst Amirah heads up the shopfront and plots on cakes, bakes, and other dastardly ways to keep me in a day-job, her brother Feroz takes charge in the kitchen, plating up various breakfast dishes and lunch bites from Bake Street’s dynamic menu. Having dragged Steak along for a mid-morning brunch, I ordered the chakka breakfast – a bowl of soft poached eggs on a bed of tomato, spinach, and chilli oil sauce, served with tzatziki yoghurt and a helping of sourdough toast. Rich and wonderfully sharp, the tomato-based sauce did well to tickle the tastebuds, whilst its light and oily consistency paired perfectly with the crusty sourdough toast, and the crisp leaves of spinach. After a couple of failed Boomerang videos, I had spilled the glorious, oozing yolk into the mixture, and together with the subtle, spicy touch of the thick turkish sausage, this created a vibrant concoction of Mediterranean flavours.
Chakka breakfast (£8 + £1.50 Turkish sausage) *Recommended*
My satisfaction soon turned to envy however, as Steak’s order of “Eggs del toro” was far more alluring. Two toasted English muffins sat side by side, topped with chipotle sausage patties, poached eggs, and a heap of roasted salsa, avocado, lime hollandaise and coriander sauce. The thick and succulent patties possessed an optimal level of seasoning, whilst the sharp and creamy lime hollandaise proved to be a unique sensory experience in its own right. Having realised that Steak had made the better breakfast choice, I made sure to stare her down until she handed some over to me.
Eggs del Toro (£9) *Must-Eat*
As we had learnt at the Fire & Smoke Supperclub, Amirah has a certain way with chantilly cream – much like the way a painter has an eye for detail, or the way I have a knack for ruining everything I touch. (Who wants a check-up?). Keen to see whether she could follow up on the glorious desserts served that day, we tried a chocolate cupcake, which was so ridiculously soft and fluffy, that we reckon it’s a pretty good indication of how a chocolate cloud would taste. (And let’s be honest – trying to eat a real cloud from the seat of an airplane would be about as difficult as it is for a Muslim passenger to get onto the airplane in the first place).
However, it was only when we dug into the lemon bar that our minds were truly blown away. Whilst many lemon-based desserts end up being too sweet, too sour, or just plain sickening, this simple bake proved to be utterly divine. As we sank our teeth into it, we were greeted by a thick, gooey, and phenomenally sharp lemon curd, which followed on to a firm shortcrust base. The concentrated tartness oozed over the tastebuds, stinging and soothing them simultaneously as its presence spread across the senses, and in that very moment, I declared it to be the best lemon-based dessert that I have come across thus far.
Fluffy cupcakes, rich lemon bars and gooey pecan pies.
Alongside these delectable goods, Bake Street serves up the highly popular Climpson Estate blend. Since first coming across it at Timberyard Seven Dials – (where I enjoyed the best flat white I have ever been served), it has held on to its spot as one of my favourite coffee blends. Excited to be reunited with it, I ordered a piccolo, whilst Steak opted for a flat white. Much to my dismay, both beverages arrived in an unbalanced state, and the inherent sweetness, acidity, and character of the blend had been lost and diluted by an excessive amount of steamed milk.
(Left): Flat white. (Right): Piccolo.
Fortunately however, my second order of an espresso fared much better. Although it was a little thin in body and mouthfeel, it had retained the sharp citrus zest and the sweet notes of chocolate and orange for which the Estate blend is known.
Bake Street also serve a range of teas by Chash & Novus, and as I caffeinated myself under the table, Steak tried a “Persian Pomegranate” tea, which was a sharp and refreshing taste of summer.
Persian Pomegranate tea
Value For Money: 4/5
Across the menu, breakfast items range from £4-£10, sandwiches cost £3 to £5, whilst cakes, bakes and coffees cost between £2 to £5. Prices are thus in line with any other coffeeshop in London, and you can be sure to leave Bake Street with a full belly and a relatively full wallet. (Although, that may change once you visit a dentist to deal with the damage).
You can also be sure to receive a rather warm welcome, as the staff members at Bake Street are every bit as friendly as they are laid-back and carefree. Service is also rather efficient, and you shouldn’t be waiting too long for your goods to arrive.
Decor / Ambience: 3.5/5
The cafe itself carries a decor that is both shabby-chic and industrial in nature, with a number of wooden tables and chairs spread across its relatively spacious layout. It’s a remarkably calm and quiet space during the week, and whilst it can get a little busier during the weekend, it wouldn’t be too unreasonable to utilise a small part of it to work, read, or just catch up with friends. Occasionally, the cafe can lack a sense of cosiness however, and I can’t help but feel that there’s something missing in the set-up. Unfortunately, I can’t quite put my finger on it – either because it wasn’t particularly important, or because my fingers were too busy stuffing my face with cake. The cafe can be found a short walk away from Rectory Road station, and parking spaces are available nearby – although, restrictions do apply.
Whilst it’s clear that the Bake Street team need to sharpen up on the consistency of their coffee-crafting, the interesting array of burly breakfasts and toothsome treats provides more than enough reason to pay them a visit. Not only have Amirah and Feroz produced a successful little cafe in a remote residential area, but they’ve managed to create a sense of community within it as well. In essence, this is what sets Bake Street apart, and as I drag myself through dental school and tackle my way through the real world of dentistry, I can take comfort in the fact that it’s perfectly possible for Aunt Berry, Uncle Cruise and myself to one day take charge of our own homely coffee shop.
Bake Street Cafe
Address: 58 Evering Road, London N16 7SR
Telephone: 0207 683 7177