The world’s first café dedicated entirely to cereal opened on Brick Lane this morning, with queues out the door from 7am. We were there to see whether it would bowl us over or let us down like an own-brand box of cornflakes.
Cereal Killer Café is the brainwave of Belfast-born twins Alan and Gary Keery, who hit on the idea last year. Gary tells us: “I was hungry and kept passing places serving Mexican, Chinese, burgers and all sorts — but all I really wanted to eat was a bowl of cereal. We decided we wanted to open a cereal café and did some market research which showed that people liked the idea.” He also tells us that “if it was going to work we knew it had to be in Shoreditch; it’s where things are happening and where people embrace originality”.
Cereal Killer Café opens from 7am-10pm, serving over 120 different kinds of cereal (including gluten-free), 13 milks and more than 20 additional toppings. The cereals range from British favourites to US and Asian varieties rarely seen on these shores. They all cost £2.50 for a small bowl, £3 for a medium bowl, and £3.50 for a large with milk included. Toppings cost 50p and a few premium milks cost an additional 20p.
We felt it appropriate to go all out, so feasted on a medium bowl of US peanut butter toast crunch flakes, pimped with maltesers and served with a mini bottle of banana milk (there’s a photo of it in the gallery above). And we couldn’t resist a small second helping in the form of Oreo O’s — a sugary cereal based on the dark-coloured cookies — which is now only made in South Korea. Throw in a black coffee and we were left well and truly buzzing, but we’ll be back soon to try a bowlful of Popping Pebbles, which are imported from the US and consist of multi-coloured, berry-flavoured puffed rice and popping candy.
It may be all about the cereals but there’s a fair few other options, too. Toast with varying toppings (strawberry fluff, Nutella, Marmite) costs £1.50 for two slices; there are 12 different Pop-Tart flavours; and you can tuck into cereal-themed cakes such as Rice Krispie Victoria sponges and Coco Pop brownies.
Drinks focus on teas and coffee from nearby roastery Allpress, and there’s also a range of cereal ‘cocktails’ made with blended cereals, fruits and milks. They are all non-alcoholic as of yet, though we’ve heard whispers that there are plans to spike them in the future.
The environment certainly milks the cereal theme. The small site’s bare brick walls are enlivened by swathes of cereal boxes — including those emblazoned with the likes of Batman, Barbie and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles — and decorated with memorabilia such as cereal box giveaways and vintage milk bottles. Portraits of serial killers — Hannibal Lecter and Dexter, not real ones — made with cereal are a focal point, while the brightly-coloured basement that holds most of the seats looks like a child’s bedroom. A feel-good soundtrack spans Queen and the theme from Ghostbusters.
There are a few details which need ironing out: we’re given a very slippy tray to carry downstairs loaded with bowls, cups and milk bottles, and a slow iPad-based payment system holds the queue up. Other than that, we’re very impressed.
Yes it’s a gimmick, but Cereal Killer Café is also fun, affordable and downright different. In the words of Tony the tiger: it’s grrrr-eat!
Cereal Killer Café is at 139 Brick Lane, E1 6SB. Coincidentally, it’s on the corner of Bacon Street.
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆