15 Leman Street, LondonE1 8EN www.lockeliving.com
Nick finds a deli down by the river with damn good coffee and a tasty little menu
You can enjoy a little entertainment at Deli Cat & Co, completely free of charge.
Sit in the large window area, there’s a great view across the Thames to Tate Modern as well as the Millennium Bridge, and wait.
Every few minutes someone will come around the corner and then stop suddenly as they realise the Thames Path inexplicably goes no further, their way is blocked completely.
This causes various degrees of consternation, varying from arms in the air and a full on screamed’what the F’, to a resigned sigh and a depressed about turn.
Quite why the path ends in this abrupt way is a mystery, but in fact the whole area is a maze of weird dead ends and uncrossable roads. Approach Deli Cat the wrong way and you’ll find yourself screaming in frustration too. I know I did.
This is though both a bad and a good thing. Not everyone is going to find this all-day deli in the base of the new Locke at Broken Wharf Hotel and once you have the route memorised, you can enjoy it without crowds.
A secret place with excellent coffee, a chilled vibe and some seriously tasty food.It was probably once the ground floor engine room of an anonymous office building, and Deli Cat makes use of all the exposed pipes, ducting and plumbing to create a soft industrial feel.
In fact, it looks like they didn’t so much as paint the emptied space as use a high-pressure paint hose to coat every single surface indiscriminately.
Then they fitted it out, and the result works. A giant bay window onto the Thames pours in light that is picked up by Scandiwegian style woods.
The kitchen area is smart and functional; lots of fresh bread and pastries on display. The cafe may be part of a smart urban hotel but it stands on its own merits too.
It’s a great space to do a bit of work, too. So, J and I order coffees and yank out the Macbooks. I can’t however see any power outlets.
The coffee is very good, served in those peculiar pottery mugs parents used to bring back from holidays in Cornwall. The coffee is, however, not all that hot and cools rapidly. We ordered some more an hour or two later and it was the same tepid brew.
Anyhoo, this is not a coffee review so we ordered food. The menu has an all-day brunch (7am -5pm), Petite Plates’ (5pm-10:30pm) and All-Day Bites (7am -10:30pm).
After consulting our watches, we decided on All Day Brunch. It felt too late in the day for either the French Breakfast or the English, but the Stilton Croque-Monsieur with Cheddar, Ham and Stilton BÃƒÂ©chamel sounded okay, as did Organic Scotch Egg,
Corn Flake Bread Crumbs, Mushrooms, Spinach, Rocket and Crunchy Mint Panko.I do like a proper poached egg, that perfect white sphere, so I had Green Vegetable Toast – Organic Poached Eggs on toast with Kale, Cabbage, Green Beans and Sprouts.
It looked lovely when it came, a prettily plated mixture of naughty and nice. The sprouts (brussels) had been halved and charred and piled onto the sourdough toast along with the rest of the greens and then two eggs had been plopped on top.
These broke to the knife to reveal perfectly cooked golden yolks which gleefully oozed over everything, just as I hoped they would.
This softened the toast and coated the sprouts, so that each forkful was manageable and I felt virtuous. I could eat this for breakfast for many weeks and not get bored.
J, the truffle hound, had immediately fastened on Organic Truffle Scrambled Eggs White Truffle Oil, Toast. And he ordered smoked salmon on top (but he could easily have ordered smoked pancetta or other extras).
The salmon was chunky, the eggs fluffy and soft and I could smell the truffles (or the truffle oil) across the table. Bit of a winner.So we had some more coffee, did some more work, all comfortably fuelled by brunch.
Tthen when the Macbooks started giving power warnings, we called it a day.
We both really liked Deli Cat & Sons. It’s fresh and quite funky, it’s like a little secret, it’s got a great view and the food is exactly what people want to eat.
Did I mention the coffee could be hotter?
To find Deli Cat & Sons easily, go to the St Pauls end of the Millenium Bridge and come down the steps onto the Thames Path and walk east a hundred yards.