Breakfast at Albion | Eating Out

When it comes to reviewing, be it a product, a service, an experience etc,  honesty is undoubtedly the best policy, and I'll make no reservations for Albion. 

Albion is a cafe, bakery and food store neatly nestled away in Shoreditch (east London), that prides itself on simple, long-established British recipes and ingredients. The store's shelves are stocked with everyday cupboard essentials, organic meats, British dairy, seasonal treats and patisserie favourites.

Don't get me wrong: the quality of food is absolutely fantastic. The concept, interior, layout and staff uniform are all wonderful. Albion, itself, is very charming with heaps of character....
Full English with black pudding!
Flat white
Left: Raspberry and strawberry smoothie | Right: Honey and vanilla smoothie
...But, I find the service to be extremely pretentious and rude at the best of times (surprisingly, I mainly get this vibe from the senior staff, who should be setting a good example. This attitude trickling down to serving staff). When I asked for a table for two, the senior waiter looked at me as though it was an absurd request. When ordering, the waiter asked how I liked my egg, and paused for my response. I was about to reply, "fried over-easy", when he abruptly responded, "Poached, fried, scrambled...". Erm, OK. If he wanted a scripted response, he should have given me those options as part of the question. If I wasn't hungry, I would have walked out. Thinking about it now, I should have asked them to take off the discretionary service charge from the bill, and I wouldn't call it a "cheap eat" as Time Out suggests.

A friend of mine dined there recently and overheard a customer asking for milk in his shot of espresso. The waitress responded, "That's odd; most men don't ask for milk". Erm, sorry, what?! Firstly, how rude of her to question his masculinity purely because he would prefer to add a dairy product in his coffee. Secondly (and most importantly), she's a waitress whose job is not to question the paying customer on how they'd like to consume their drink, but to attend to their dining needs. I'm disgusted. If I'm not mistaken, she picked that job. Don't be mad, don't be moody. Do it properly. You are employed to provide a service, and a good one at that.

During my meal, I managed to smile, but only because I was in great company.  
Atmosphere and vibe is extremely important to me, wherever I am. Bad service can completely overshadow any positive elements of an experience. I think Albion could learn a lesson or two about customer service skills from their neighbours, Dishoom (blog post here).  
I won't be dining at Albion again, though I will certainly pop in occasionally to purchase delightful treats from the store. 


Have you dined at Albion before? What was your experience there like?

As ever, 


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