It feels like a while since I’ve written a One Good Reason post as a tenuous way to recommend an eating spot / quickly fill space on the blog. So, for full transparency, this is an opportune use of a recent procrasti-break, in order to cover up a lack of notable dining of late (and an acute lack of time).
What are the great flavour matches in London? Is it possible to identify a set of unmissable, possibly iconic, pairings, which add up to more than the sum of their parts? Is there one already?
Some combinations might appear on the same plate – I’d put the St John Eccles cake and Lancashire cheese on the list, probably their bone marrow and parsley too. Most are likely to be a food and drink match – Guinness and oysters at Bentley’s, a couple of guindillas and a glass of fino or manzanilla at Morito, back to St John for poppy seed cake and Madeira. Any more for any more?
Well, I’d probably put the cardamom bun and cortado from Fabrique bakery on there too.
Fabrique is a Scandinavian bakery set in a railway arch (natch) just north of Hoxton overground station. They’ve a bunch of different sourdough and rye based breads but, to be honest, aside from the odd semlor, I’ve only ever had eyes for their cardamom buns*.
The bun is not much to look at – it’s a slightly flat, imprecise swirl of folds and twists. But appearances can be deceptive; in this case, it’s all about the eating.
The idea of a cardamom flavoured sweet dough won’t enthuse everyone, but it has a lovely balance between strong aromatic spice, comforting enriched dough and caramelised sugar. I’m always surprised how much I enjoy it. That said, on its own, it’d probably be too much for me. Here’s where the flavour pairing comes in; for coffee and cardamom are very good together.
The Fabrique house cortado has a little of the modern style acidity and sweetness, but is mostly just a good, strongly roasted but not burnt bean. It more than holds its own against the spice in the bun (which would probably dominate other coffees). In fact, the two elevate each other. This may or may not be the best example of a cardamom bun in London (I hear Bageriet is good). But I don’t really care, because the combo is perfect.
I tend to go with the bite, sip, bite, sip, pause, dip, bite, dip, bite, sip, pause, bite, sip strategy. But I’m sure you’ll find your own way through.
Fabrique bakery, Arch 385 Geffrye St, E2 8HZ
One Good Reason
The coffee and spiced bun match, £2.50 for the coffee, £2.50 for the bun.
* You could go for a cinnamon version … but you’d be missing out.