With some affection and a little annoyance do I confront the deeply unhumble Shoreditch coffee shop. Filling up in Ozone, the Grind and the n-n-nasty Look Mum No Hands I have acquainted myself with the scene and grown accustomed to their ‘like it or lump it’ ways. Industrial chic layouts, arty characters playing with Macbooks, artisan coffee, chilled vibes, got it. Well here comes Slate, a secret I really should have kept a little longer since it’s a welcome enigma on the caffeinated scene. This coffee shop is teeny-tiny, nestled on Curtain Road, very easy to miss. But cutesy cringer it is not. Edgy graffiti on the walls, seriously pumping beats, close together tables, and a passionate proprietor at the helm, this coffee joint has (comparative) balls. A quirky little nook, this is the sort of place for those who consider themselves more Left Bank Parisian than East London trendy. In fact, the eclectic clientele crushed into this space are one of the biggest plus points, from the tattooed Spanish student grabbing a take-away to the solitary Aussie photographer flicking through highbrow picture books. Not to forget the hungover twentysomething couple taking it easy on a Sunday – they get everywhere. This is the sort of box-joint you should claim as your own before the crowds descend, and then return ad infinitum every weekend.
You’ll be confronted with the biggest goddamn sandwiches this city has seen, made from entire loaves and stuffed to the brim with meats, cheeses and grilled vegetables. However, I think the idea is for them to break you off a piece of that (you said it sister). The sweet treats are swell and the teas and coffees come on black slates accompanied by little glass bottles of milk and small jars for spoons and honey. Adorkable.
You woke up in East London together and, after tumbling around in bed till noon, you’ve got your hunger on. Suggest a casual wonder down the road to find a flat white and lead them here. Providing you’re still hanging, the sweet beats pumping from the stereos will be a nice reminder of last night’s jolly at Plastic People and a welcome contrast to the chilled coffee joints you’d virtuously brunch in. You already picked up the papers on your way so divide the supplements accordingly and hold on to these props to fill gaps in conversation. Start with coffees and copious amounts of water, then share some sandwiches and start to feel more human. Once the eating phase is over, take a break from chatter and comfortable silence it out for the next 30 mins, regurgitating the odd line from an interesting article, exchanging looks when new and curious characters enter. As the Sunday fear starts to descend at 4pm or 5pm wrap things up there, stop off at the gritty Roadtrip Bar for a final dirty whiskey, lead them to Old Street station, kiss the heck out of them and walk away.
Nothing. Until the crowds descend.
1. Already happened. This is where you see how comfortable you can be, and how far it could go.