Considering how central Whitechapel is, you’d think there’d be a bit more to the area besides violatingly-high rent prices, the motorway-like road which slices its way through the middle of it and the somewhat below-par street market which sells king size mattresses off the pavement. Apologies to any blissfully happy Whitechapel residents who are now grossly offended but I once considered moving there until I decided that living in Slough would probably be more exciting.
That said, the lack of social vibrancy in Whitechapel is changing and the occupancy of the super-sweet bakery-cum-café Foxcroft & Ginger is certainly a part of that.
In amongst the uninspiring grime and noise pollution of E1 sits the ultimate anomaly; a stretch of friendly, inviting windows – all illustrated with doodled menu offerings and cheery life messages which make this place stand out like a newly-sprung daisy whilst making you feel better about, well, being in Whitechapel.
Foxcroft & Ginger is a bit like a much-needed hug from a mate after you’ve just been ruthlessly dumped. It’s reassuringly warm and comforting, it’s the perfect place to escape whatever headspace you might happen to be in and, most importantly, it comes armed with an amazing array of incredibly tasty comfort food you can get yourself cheery to.
The food will not leave you feeling disappointed. Brunch options go way beyond pancakes and bacon. The ‘Eggs Bennie’, for example, involves cooking the egg at exactly sixty three degrees …for an hour …to ensure the perfect consistency is achieved. Kind of makes me feel guilty about microwaving my poachies. Don’t even get us started on the rustic, homemade hash brown which comes with sausage and eggs and – as if that wasn’t enough – a Bloody Mary sauce, for the love of God. We ordered all of the aforementioned, plus an incredibly flavoursome and colourful re-friend beans and veggie dish. Plus a side of smoked salmon. And a side of their signature house sausages, just because we felt inspired to eat our body weight in incredible foods. It all arrived quickly, transforming our table into a smorgasbord, packed with beautifully presented works of edible art to rival that of the Sistene Chapel’s ceiling. If the ceiling in question had been painted with beans, eggs and sausage meat, that is.
The menu changes on a regular basis, the ingredients used are fresh and well-married and they also offer a wide range of gluten-free options. Foxcroft & Ginger also have a tempting array of home baked cakes and sweet treats which are the perfect accompaniments to their flat whites, which come hotter and smoother than your average Lionel Richie playlist, by the way.
Usually, I’d shout about a place based mainly on their food – which I can still do with this little eatery – but for us, it was just as much about the chilled, homely vibe being breathed from every aspect of the effortlessly-cool interior. Sanded-back wood grain, pops of colour, exposed brickwork and subway tiles-a-plenty are the order of the day here, with the carnival-light Foxcroft & Ginger sign setting the standard for awesome decorative touches before you’ve even walked through the door.
We’d gone in with banging Sunday morning heads, feeling like shadows of our formal selves having been assaulted the night before by a large bottle of vodka. We experienced what seemed like the impossible, the unthinkable, the unfathomable; emerging having been entirely healed, our wrong-doings atoned, our organs smiling and our stomachs joyfully laden. The transformation was nothing short of a miracle and can surely be considered cold, hard therapy.
Foxcroft & Ginger we thank you for squaring us up in our hour of need, asking for nothing in return. You were our Sunday morning church and I promise you we’ll be returning when we’re next caught short on a hangover.
Probably next weekend, if I’m honest.