Good Food Review: Esters N16
Nestled away just off Church Street in Stoke Newington, Esters is one of the coolest ecologically-orientated cafes in town. Abi Aspen Glencross and Amy Luck took their lockdown takeaway menu for a spin.
You might think that opening a café just off the well-trodden track of Stoke Newington Church Street is rather risky, however with a daily changing menu and unpretentious atmosphere, Esters was worth this risk and provides a much-needed breath of fresh air to uber trendy east London.
Owners Jack and Nia have been running the café since 2013 and it has gone from strength to strength, with Jack predominantly coordinating the savoury dishes and Nia having a palate for the sweet. Together they make a culinary crime fighting duo.
Open for breakfast and lunch, and always with an impressive selection of baked goods for sale, Esters caters to the safe and the adventurous diner. With familiar cheese toasties and almond croissants to the Insta-famous miso white chocolate cookie you won’t be disappointed whatever you choose.
Sourcing is of utmost importance. The team works closely with several nearby, agroecologically minded farms and producers including Flourish, Duchess Farms and Little Bread Pedlar. During Covid they began stocking Flourish veg boxes and produce from their suppliers to sell, becoming one of London’s loveliest little corner shops. The menu is radically seasonal and excitingly, there is produce on there you won’t find in many other places (think Aztec broccoli).
Esters N16. Photo: Jonathan Simpson
We popped down to try their breakfast menu, ordering the Lincolnshire Poacher toastie with fruit ketchup and courgette pickles and the scrambled egg breakfast sandwich on a house made bun. The sandwich was the standout, with such complex flavours in something seemingly so simple. The crunch of fruit and pickle contrasted beautifully with the soft bun, creamy eggs and pumpkin pistou.
For our ‘dessert’ (at 9am) we picked an almond croissant and the ‘Bostock’. The former is sourced from Little Bread Pedlar and made using organic flour. Esters gives any day-old croissants a makeover with homemade almond paste and flaked almonds for croissant 2.0. The Bostock, meanwhile, was unlike anything we’ve ever tried: brioche with elderflower syrup, blood orange jam and frangipane. Like if a blood orange Bakewell tart had a baby with french toast.
With much more than your run of the mill brunch menu and dedication to suppliers and ecology, we can safely say that this little café is one of our favourite London dining spots.
This review first appeared in The Jellied Eel magazine issue 63, May 2021
Check out another Stoke Newington favourite - The Good Egg Jellied Eel review