*Cafe Loren has closed down since November 2018
Shakshuka, a Middle Eastern staple, has been growing in popularity as a brunch item. Many restaurant menus now include that, whether as a breakfast item or a light healthy lunch option. It’s basically a traditional East Mediterranean dish of poached eggs braised in a slow-roasted tomato and vegetable sauce. It’s being well-loved by the public and all you Shakshuka-lovers would be absolutely delighted about Cafe Loren.
Cafe Loren is a small busy spot in Camden Market. The best thing about it is that it has an entire menu specialising in Shakshuka! There are different tomato sauce bases (red, white, green), and a handful of vegetables/toppings combo. If you can’t make a solid decision, there’s a trio one where you can try out small portions of the red, white, and green shakshuka each. One that really popped out on the menu, though we didn’t order in the end, is the Shakshuka Sandwich. I’m certainly intrigued by the idea and if you’ve tried it, certainly let me know what you think!
*Disclaimer: I was invited by Cafe Loren for a complimentary meal. Thoughts are my own.
The Spicy One (£8.70)
In the spicy one, there are two poached eggs, fresh chili, paprika, harissa, red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. It is nicely presented over a wooden board along with hummus and pita bread.
There’s a mild but effective kick of spice in the shakshuka. I liked how it is relatively chunky, which offered a lot of texture. The smokey and subtly spiced flavours go so well with the eggs. The bowl was wiped squeaky clean with the pita bread.
Balkan Shakshuka (£8.80)
As for the Balkan one, the base is pretty similar – consisting of two organic poached eggs, onions, garlic, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, and then topped with feta cheese, basil, and parsley. This one’s served with tahini, hummus, cucumber slices, and a bread roll.
This one’s less chunkier than the Spicy One, but still has a really nice layer of texture. There’s generous amount of feta cheese which is great but also slightly overwhelming at first. It’s certainly a more filling choice if you are looking for something more satisfying. If I were to pick on it, I would say the eggs were slightly overcooked. But in overall, it’s definitely a satisfactory one.
Cafe Loren’s logo highlights shakshuka and coffee. Whilst the shakshuka has proven to be great, I must say the coffee was fairly disappointing. The cafe uses Monmouth coffee and so I would expect to be of great quality given my love for the brand. However, the coffee came out not very well-executed. There’s definitely some work to do with the coffee and it was a shame as it would have gone as a great pairing with the shakshuka.
Cafe Loren is definitely a spot worth checking out. It’s an interesting and cosy spot tucked away in the hustle and bustle of Camden market. A shakshuka cafe is a really great concept. It’s a really healthy and light option but still wonderfully tasty to the palate. If you’re around Camden, it’s worth stopping by.
Tel: 020 3076 0099
Nearest station: Camden Town / Chalk Farm