The Tate Modern has its own very nice joint – but look outside and there’s not much to choose from nearby, apart from chain outlets. Albion’s also a chain café – the second of two from Terence Conran – but it’s a promised land when compared to nearby alternatives.
Wrapped around the base of one of the Neo Bankside ‘pavilions’ (rebranded tower blocks) designed by Richard Rogers, just behind Tate Modern, this glass-walled eatery has pleasing aspects, such as a secluded outdoor terrace overlooking a beautifully landscaped garden of mature silver birches. For outdoor dining, it’s truly a green and pleasant land. Indoors has a more shop-unit feel and look, softened by some displays of vegetable boxes (heirloom tomatoes: £12 per kilo).
Breakfast is the main meal of the day here, with dishes from toast and Marmite to a full English (£10.50). Prices are high, but so is the quality. Our kedgeree (£10.50) had imperceptibly mild spicing, but was turmeric bright, the rice nicely al dente and not mushy, the smoked fish also had a good firm texture. No options were given for how we wanted our duck eggs on toast – this is a British café, after all, not a customer-oriented Yankee one. The eggs were simply fried, sunny side up, runny with a single slice of toast for £7.75. The coffee was okay, the fruit juices freshly squeezed. Breakfast for two came to nearly £35.
Later in the day the menu expands to include fish and chips, pies, bread and butter pudding, afternoon teas. It’s a perfect alternative to the Tate Modern’s own bustling bistro, away from the maddening crowds.