Mr Hyde Eats

"I did enjoy my pop tart"

We asked Ben Tish – chef director for Salt Yard and all-round gourmet-food genius – to review the new Cereal Killer Café in Camden. He agreed

I’ve always fancied doing a restaurant review. In 20 years I’ve slogged it in hot, pressurised kitchens and opened four restaurants from scratch. But when asked to check out the new Cereal Killer Café in Camden my heart sank a little. Surely I should be reviewing ultra on-trend restaurants in east London? I hadn’t been to Camden Town for a good few years, and the minute I stepped off the Tube I saw not much had changed. It was heaving with happy youths. I immediately felt my age.

The place

The café is based in the labyrinth of Camden’s stables, rubbing shoulders with smoky street-food stalls, drug-paraphernalia shops, tattoo parlours and tie-dye utopias. The concept is pretty niche and simple – the owners stock every child-friendly cereal known to man and change the selection regularly as and when they find a new gem. You won’t find any organic spelt muesli made in Dorset here; it’s all heavy on the refined sugars, colourings and additives.

The food

You can have a small (£3), medium (£3.70) or large bowl (£4.40) of cereal and mix up to three varieties. There’s also various toppings for extra tooth-numbing sweetness and crunch if that’s your thing. Oh, and it has Pop Tarts. For the sake of this review I ordered an Apple Cinnamon Pop Tart to start and then went for it with the cereals: Banana Nut Cheerios, Scooby Doos, Coco Pops, Reese’s Puffs and Cocoa Pebbles. I thought I’d “go healthy” with semi-skimmed milk instead of full cream (which would have been one dose of Eighties authenticity too far). This was all washed down with a couple of builders’ teas.

The verdict

I’ll be honest here: I can’t remember any flavours. I’m still high on the overriding sugar rush two days later. I did enjoy my Pop Tart. The Coco Pops were as I remember and I even slurped the remaining coco-milk form the bowl. It’s not meant to be a gastronomic experience, but the whole thing is quite a clever, colourful blast of nostalgia. The wall of cereals as you enter the café is a riot of old-school design, and everything down to the TV playing cartoons, the video games, and the beds with super-hero duvets were all straight out of my childhood. What’s also interesting is that it was full of 15 year olds.

Final word: it’s certainly got a little piece of the market cornered, with surprising demographic range. But I think that will be my one and only trip down the cereal memory lane

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