I very rarely travel up to Camden. Between the long tube journey, and the eternal hoards of teenage tourists, I tend to find it more of a hassle than it’s worth.
But whenever I do go, it’s usually for the food.
The shopping’s not really my style, and I’m not a gig kinda gal, but the food? I’ll always brave it for the food.
Camden Market is a proper treasure trove of street food stalls and tucked away restaurants. From gluten-free burgers to voodoo chicken, Spanish paella, Austrian pancakes, and (of course) Chinese noodles, it’s got a little bit of everything for everyone.
I’m telling you now, for the right foodie incentive, I’d brave Camden even at its busiest and most irritating.
Which is how I came to be elbowing my way through Camden High Street, on my way to brunch at Cafe Loren, at 11 o’clock on a Saturday morning…
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Tucked away in a tiny alley at the back of Camden Market, is Cafe Loren.
From the outside, it’s deceptively tiny. But on the inside, it’s bigger than it looks. It’s a bit cramped (Camden space is at a premium!) but there’s plenty of seating, and the little personal touches are cosy.
We ordered coffees and a hummus platter to start. The lattes were OK, nothing to write home about, but the macchiato I ordered later was fantastic.
The hummus was lovely. It arrived drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with paprika and parsley, for a subtle smokey kick.
But the star of this show was definitely the pita bread. Fresh, hot, beautifully plump, and perfectly fluffy on the inside, we devoured the lot.
In fact, it was so good, that I specifically ordered my shakshuka main dish based on the fact that it also came served with the pita…
Classic shakshuka is a popular North African breakfast dish of eggs baked into a spicy tomato and pepper stew. I make my own chorizo version at home (though I haven’t actually made it for a while) but we usually have it for an easy supper. I think it works both ways!
Cafe Loren serves a whole variety of different shakshukas, from the classic, to a super spicy, through to a green one made with avocado, leek and spinach. They even have a vegan option!
I ordered the Homeshuka (noted on the menu as “granny’s recipe”), which was very similar to the classic. The traditional pepper and tomato stew arrived nestled on a bed of hummus, drizzled with tahini, and sprinkled with a serving of feta (which I’d ordered as an extra because FETA ♥︎)
It was soft and gooey and yum, but I would have liked a bit more kick to it. The sauce was blander than I expected it to be, and I was glad for the salty addition of the feta.
Charlie decided to experiment, and ordered the White shakshuka. The tomato stew in this one is replaced by a creamy, comforting blend of chopped mushrooms, cream cheese, feta, and nutmeg.
The eggs were a tad overdone, but the flavours were absolutely incredible. (No pita bread with this one though!)
It’s proper cosy comfort food, and I’d definitely order it on my next visit!
Overall: it’s not the best food I’ve had in Camden.
But it’s a pretty solid brunch option if you’re looking for something other than smashed avocado, and the service was quick and really friendly.
Order the White shakshuka with extra pita bread, and you definitely won’t be disappointed!
*We were guests of Cafe Loren for this visit.
All photos, words and pita loving are my own!