The best Mexican breakfast stall in London has arrived in Hackney

A serious new Mexican breakfast and brunch stall has arrived on the grounds of St John’s Church in Hackney in East London.

Last month, Max Fishmann, owner of the Quarter Store winery and service provider on Mary Street, took over the church-owned space but had not operated since the start of the pandemic. Fishman describes the kiosk as a “lovable neighborhood meeting place”, which locals are eager to return to and tries to bring it back to life with “great food, coffee, and a sense of community”.

To help make it happen, Fishman has installed Chef Rodrigo Cervantes, who is originally from Mexico City but has recently been grinding his teeth in kitchens across London: his resume includes a handful of London’s hottest restaurants in recent times, including Smoking Goat and Koya and Rita’s and Gezellig, Bad Sports, and most recently, Dom’s Subs.

It’s early days for Cervantes, who told Eater that he actually “walked one foot out of the kitchen” before he got the chance with Fishman via a mutual friend earlier this year. There are plans to introduce a grill, and even plans to split his own corn and make masa for tortillas. For now, having tested out a number of purchased diamonds, Cervantes opts for Cool Chile’s, which it makes into sumptuous tortillas for breakfast tacos, thicker lunchtime gordita versions, and chilacilles. “We’ll see how it goes!” Cervantes said, knowing that there are limits to what he can achieve in such a modest kitchen. Sure, he’ll soon be serving Mexican sandwiches made with tellera rolls and soups.

Quarter Kitchen kiosk, tables and chairs on his garden terrace.
Adam Coughlan

But Cervantes’ signature dish on hold is actually the breakfast burrito, which is made with purchased tortilla flour. (The chef tries to secure goods from nearby Sonora, which has become well known for its delicate models of the figure.)

He puts the wrap on the McDonald’s breakfast burrito sold in fast food restaurant branches across America. It contains a deeply spiced mix of scrambled eggs, chopped peppers, American cheese, salsa and a breakfast sausage pie. It’s a winning combination. A fortified start to the day.

“We wanted to make it interesting in a place that’s not a restaurant, not a café – that’s basically the idea,” Cervantes said. He plans to change things up regularly, with soup and other breakfast items set to appear in the coming weeks. Breakfast tacos now see corn tortillas topped with charred roga sauce, fried brown eggs and four slices of well-chopped smoked bacon glazed with maple syrup and sugar. Taco Ranchero (below) comes with black beans, hash browns, green salsa, and a fried egg. Tortillas come in two. Breakfast like this is rare in London.

Fishman was also keen to emphasize the Quarter Kitchen coffee program, which is similarly apt. “We’ve also taken our coffee-making process, which we’ve developed a solid reputation for in-store, into the kitchen,” he said. The house coffee is provided by Origin, and the filters come from guest roasters such as Skylark, Crankhouse, and Process.

Currently, Quarter Kitchen is open Tuesday through Sunday, serving food Wednesday through Sunday (every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ

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