Leila’s Shop in London’s Shoreditch serves breakfast all day. This in and of itself is enough to awaken the affection of a native New Jerseyian whose notions of home are infused with the aromas of fried eggs and toasted bread wafting from a diner kitchen. At Leila’s the sounds and smells are even more intense as the open kitchen and dining are are crammed into a single storefront. Tables are communal and, while it is nearly impossible to have a conversation, the clanging dishes and banging pans are music to my ears.
This breakfast spot and the adjacent organic market are the brainchild of food consultant Leila McAllister, whose philosophy can be briefly summed up as: providing excellent food. At brunch there on Sunday I sampled some of the offerings, beginning with a Polish platter. The thin, air-dried sausages made from a 200 year old recipe were smokey and peppery, the pickles were sweet and crisp, and the pumpernickel was light an spongey. My dining companion had eggs with Serrano ham in a cast iron skillet prepared with a liberal amount of butter and served with bread from St. John Bread & Wine. His latte was nothing short of spectacular. These words rarely come out of my mouth when discussing coffee outside of Naples or Rome.
To ensure adequate Sunday carb consumption, we ended the meal with a chocolate brownie and ginger cake supplied by Flour Power and & Clarke’s, respectively. I think Leila has hit the nail on the head here: great Polish sausage, amazing coffee, good eggs, and cakes sourced from the best places in town. Sadly, my hometown diner looks inadequate in comparison.
17 Calvert Road
London E2 7JP