The Counter, Cafe, Hackney-Wick London

NOTE: I am in London until the beginning of October, for Berlin Posts, please visit my Berlin, Favourites page or Places I’ve Eaten In 

I was doing some accounts today listening to Desert Island Discs (as is my habit).  Nick Clegg this time. After choices such as Prince singing ‘The Cross’ for song number three to take to a desert island, David Bowie ‘Life on Mars’ at number 6,  things went wacky with his choice for number 7: Shakira Waka Waka. “Because my one year old loves it.” He explained to Kirsty Young.

Aha. Just the teensiest bit sceptical about that.

Shakira on the radio prompts my father to drive hands free so he can clap as the car veeres perilously between lanes. “I love Shakira! I don’t know why?!”Someone close to me is more specific. As Waka Waka comes on the car radio, the heavy metal fan turns it up. I give him a shocked side ways glance. “When she sings certain refrains I feel a tingling in my balls.” He grins sheepishly. “See listen…”  (Sorry, I did search for an elegant way to say that but failed)

He cranks it up.

“I don’t have balls”. I reply. Turning it back down.It’s all doom and gloom here: wettest June since records began; Olympic lanes with £130 fines for driving in them; surface to air missiles; ‘shambolic’ G4S Security.  The list is long.  This is a congested city, people are fighting for space on the sidewalk or the tube without the extra 4 million visitors due for the Olympics.  So I’m thinking that maybe what London needs is a Shakira song (like the one that she did for FIFA 2010).  At least to get the boys on board.  For the girls…  Ryan Gosling squinting and flexing should probably do the trick.

My sister took me to Counter Cafe in Stour Space for brunch on Sunday.  Across the river from the cafe we could see the Olympic stadium.  Which if you don’t have a ticket is as close as you can get.Even without the looming Olympic Stadium, the Counter Cafe is a nice brunch spot.  With seating over two floors and outside by the river and no reservations there is usually a bit of a wait for a table.  Which is somewhat alleviated because you queue against a cake laden counter watching the barista make coffee, it really gets your appetite going.

It’s usual brunch fare.  The full English with homemade baked beans, bacon that wasn’t covered in white scum and sausages.  The bread appeared to be home-baked and set off the creamy scrambled eggs nicely.  There was a large potato cake, not like a rösti more like a puck of mashed potatoes.  To me, everything could have done with a great deal more salt but I suppose I appreciate that the Counter Cafe might be looking out for my arteries.  The accompanying coffee was great, a perfect flat white.  Good coffee is becoming almost standard in London.  It seems everyone knows how to make a flat white these days with pretty designs in the froth.There were a lot of eggs Benedict with salmon being ordered around us, served by a young man with his trousers below his bum (see Denis Leary’s Coffee stand up routine making fun of the ’27 inches of underwear’ issue) and his peroxide blond hair in two pigtails (yes really), looked delicious.

The Counter Cafe
7 Roach Road
Hackney Wick
London E3 2PA
www.thecountercafe.co.uk

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