Remember the Albion Café?
That gorgeously-located, tastefully-designed space – far chicer, really, than the just-across-the-road Shoreditch House – which offered up all the essentials (ie. a £13 sandwich and some artisan mustard), seated approximately three people, and, in its inimitably East London way, made absolutely no business sense whatsoever?
It was part of the portfolio of Sir Terrance Conran, the multi-hyphenate designer-restaurateur-ledge, and it comprised the underused ground floor corner of the Boundary building – also home to a beautiful boutique hotel.
Sir Terrance sadly passed away in 2020, and the Café – perhaps unsurprisingly – dwindled shortly after. But, thankfully, following the acquisition of The Boundary by a new owner (James McCulloch of Harcourt Inns), an eatery has sprung up that is worthy of the Boundary’s location and lineage.
It’s a brasserie now, and the diminutive café has somehow been hollowed out into a long spacious corridor of good cheer, jollied along expertly by MD Tom and his team of friendly, knowledgeable waiters. Instead of the stripped-back café surroundings and deli fare, there’s now a bustling bar, high tables, romantic cosy snugs, and – crucially – food you really want to eat.
Head chef Robin Freeman’s menu is a romp, offering hearty favourites – think hanger steak, and whole roast chicken for two – but cooked to a standard that elevates them. Of particular note is the grilled Cornish cod, which comes with sea vegetables and an indulgent, buttery, roe beurre blanc. Dessert-wise, the not-as-weird-as-it-sounds sea buckthorn & liquorice meringue pie with blackberry sorbet is a rare treat you’ll find yourself longing for again in the cab home.
Qualms? The drinks list is a little small – but, to be fair, it’s perfectly formed (seek out the impeccably-made margarita, and then, to check if it’s really for you, seek out another), and is likely to get bigger.
All in all, it’s a much-needed reinvention of a glorious space, designed with a level of care and consideration that would have made Sir Terrence proud.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that you’ll end up eating too much.
But then, sometimes, boundaries are overrated.
NOTE: Boundary Bar & Brasserie is open now seven days a week. You can find out more, and book a table at their website right here.
Boundary | 2-4 Boundary St, E2 7DD
Want to meet the competition? Here are the best restaurants in Shoreditch…