By Becky Stokley
Header image taken by Tyler Lewis
From the outside, a dingy, run down fruit market vibe is given off, but as you step inside, the smell of freshly brewed black coffee hits you in the face. Dalston Superstore is a prime example of gentrification in many previously passed areas of London. The aesthetic of the interior is pleasing to the eyes, small booths with blue faux leather seats, wooden stools and benches line the room. In the centre is a large bar, making it clear the establishment isn’t just a little café open 9-5, made clear by the DJ decks right next to the bar.
Quirky and eccentric waiters are quick to welcome you on arrival pouring glasses of fresh cucumber water and asking if you require any drinks. The strong linger of ground coffee had my mind set as soon as I walked through the door. The black coffee came quickly and piping hot. The little cup of coffee was strong and fragrant but just the right size to create an aware buzz within me. I’d glanced at the menu before arriving at Dalston Superstore but wanted to keep myself fairly unaware as I sat down with hunger pains for what I wanted to be a good brunch.
The menus were printed on an off-white card, placed into a clipboard and placed in front of me. At first glance, the menu is full of dishes for a health kick, following the avocado trend that I’ve seen throughout many gentrified café’s in London. Much to my surprise (and pleasure) the menu had a fairly extensive range from Avocado chilli toast and side salads to the Superstore Burger and fries.
I was intrigued to see if the healthier brunch options would tickle my taste buds. I ordered the Kale, tomato and poached eggs, praying the poached egg would be perfect. During my wait I noticed the same sort of people entering and leaving, young professionals. The same sort of people sitting on their own or with a friend, typing away on their apple macs, earphones in, forever looking busy.
This culture didn’t seem unusual to me, if anything, comforting, that this place was somewhere to remove yourself from the packed out Starbucks, but still with a sense of that creative hip scene.
As my food arrived I was greeted with a smell of warm bread. I couldn’t see the sour dough I was promised underneath the masses of kale and sunflower seed, but I sure could smell it and I was excited to give it a try. The most important part of this, for me at least, was the poached eggs. I was delighted when I cut into them and my dish was coated in a beautiful layer of egg yolk. Every single mouthful was an absolute pleasure, seasoned perfectly and definitely enough to fill anyone up. Not once whilst I was eating this health sensation did I think “I’d much rather have a burger”. The dish was even aesthetically pleasing, with fresh crisp green Kale and sunflower seeds scattered (hiding) the sour dough bread, bright red sliced tomatoes over perfectly white poached eggs.
The visit was relaxing and uninterrupted, no hovering waiter to rush you out in order to sit the next customers, just tasty food and the right amount of interest from the staff. Even during paying, the staff were friendly and commutative, paying an interest in their visiting customers without sounding at all forced. It’s an example of the positive effects of gentrification across London and a superb place for students and young people to visit. I will definitely be returning for brunch again, and to find out the ways in which this place transforms at night check out Tyler’s Dalston Superstore Part 2.