The lure of Café Loren is not just the mouth-watering Middle Eastern food, the freshly squeezed juices, the deliciously blended coffee and the variety of homemade sweet treats, but also the people who run the place. Husband and wife, Israeli-born duo, Lee and Dana, have turned the space underneath the iconic rail bridge in Camden Market into a warm, welcoming hangout, where you can tap away on your laptop, tuck into a pastry and sit and watch the world go by.
Though Café Loren is enviably positioned in the main entrance of Camden Stables Market, it’s still much of a hidden gem. It’s a lovely rustic space with beams, exposed brick walls, low atmospheric lighting and artisan crates filled with fresh fruit and bread. There’s a relaxed bench area with cushions, plus a more defined sit-down area with fresh flowers and bookcases filled with books. Lee tells me a lady came in for a coffee and started reading one of the books, and now she’s hooked and comes in every week to pick up where she left off!
The focus here is great coffee and homemade, ethically sourced food. Lee uses the best practises in sourcing, roasting and preparing coffee, and the team are also skilled in latte art. My flat white is a wonderfully rich and lovely looking cup of coffee, with a strong aroma that fills the café. As for the food, the bar is brimming with sweet pastries, freshly prepared salads and generously filled sandwiches, served using a freshly baked Challah bread, which tastes a lot like brioche. It’s actually only until you look at the menu that the Mediterranean theme becomes prominent.
Café Loren’s menu is full of exotic brunch-perfect options, the most popular being Shakshuka - a traditional Mediterranean dish of two eggs, braised in a fresh, homemade rich, tomato based sauce. There’s a range of varieties available: Homeshuka (Granny’s recipe) consists of two organic poached eggs, roasted bell peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes served on a bed of hummus and served with homemade fresh bread, and Balkan Shakshuka is made of two organic poached eggs, feta cheese, basil, parsley, onions, garlic, roasted bell peppers and tomatoes, and served with either tahini or hummus and homemade fresh bread.
All the food served here is healthy, organic and wonderfully moreish. The chef studied at Le Cordon Bleu London, the world-famous cooking school, so whatever you order, you know it’s going to be good! I’d recommend the Shakshuka and a coffee - though once you try it, your morning cereal will forever feel a little disappointing!
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