For those of you who don't know, I had a 'thing' with porridge. Not just a little something on the side, a full blown love affair. (if you don't believe me, you can check out some old posts from this instagram account). Each day was a new flavour, a new hope and a new inspiration for my sister and I to ditch the hard life of school and open up our own porridge restaurant. We of course never quite got the oat-tivation (or parental permission) to do so. Fortunately for the porridge loving world, someone did.
So here is a review of the much awaited and anticipated little porridge shop trip that myself and my pro-porridge sibling embarked upon. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you about 26 grains...
It was 8am, pouring down and our breakfast cravings were akin to that of a bear, post-hibernation. Porridge was needed, and it was needed fast.
Luckily, tucked away in Neal's Yard, London, was the place we'd been waiting for. '26 grains' with it's warm lighting, Scandinavian inspiration and it's surprisingly teeny interiors was the little hub of bubbling breakfast activity that we needed to provide our 'bear' necessities.
If, like most, you wish to enjoy the comfort of warming oats in a cosy 'home kitchen-like' atmosphere, then 26 grains has you covered. I have to say, the wooden stools weren't exactly kind on the behind, and on a busy morning you might accidentally dip your elbow in a fellow oat lover's brekky in the teeny space available. However, as cute and quirky Scandinavian interiors go, I reckon Goldilocks would settle for baby bears bed if the porridge was up to scratch.
Although it didn't have exactly 26 grains to choose from it did have 9 porridge options (both sweet AND savoury) plus 'cold bowls' for the rare days of decent weather. They also kindly cater for the odd-bods who don't want porridge from a porridge cafe(?) with a waffle option. All made with ingredients one might expect to find splashed across Deliciously Ella's instagram page, such as amaranth, tumeric, quinoa and almond butter.
The Holy bowl.
Decision making is not usually my strong point, but it didn't take me long to decide on one holy bowl that was my perfect match.... or should I say perfect matcha...
Matcha coconut cacao...
On a base layer bed of almond milk oats, was a garden of colours, textures and flavours with far more diverse beauty than I can ever hope to find in myself or any other human being I have encountered. The crunchy cacao crumble had me crumbling at the knees. The cacao nibs were a bitter bite of raw chocolate strength lightened by the airy popped quinoa and flakes of curled coconut. But more genius than the soft oat to cocoa crunch contrast of porridge to topping, was the juxtaposing warming oats with cooling matcha ice cream. It's bright green tea-ness tantalised my toungue, melted in the mouth and mesmerized my mind.
Obviously no porridge bowl is complete without some beetroot sprouts a-top to really bring some colour to the oat occasion.
Even the portion size was perfect for this Goldilocks. There was really nothing I would change.
So the interiors were cute and cosy but not totally comfortable, however the porridge was, well, something holy and definitely made up for this, therefore 26 Grains was very much a fling that could lead to a happy matrimony.
I guess this is the point where you'd usually expect such a raving review to launch into the whole "you must go here" speech, but it won't. The oats speak for themselves, and if porridge or pretentious ingredients aren't for you, then I won't try to sway you otherwise (especially given that there are only a limited number of tables).
I will however, vow to return to 26 grains when the next oat opportunity arises and I hope to share this little gem with anyone willing to venture to Neal's Yard with me to dabble in a few more options from their seasonally changing menu.
I can only pray to the holy oat gods for a growth in the grain-seeking Goldilock-like breakfasters so that 26 Grains can see the demand and gain ambitious inspiration to expand their little bubbling pot of porridge to more spoons, stoves and stores around the UK.
...But until then I shall have to make do with more frequent capital city adventures, homemade oat topped with Holland & Barrett stocked supplies and the fomo-inducing photos of the 26 Grains instagram page.
Take a sip from the cup of my mind, and let the thoughts brew...