The early bird catches the worm – and it seems as if this early-opening café aims to catch commuters before they vanish down the wormhole that is Chalk Farm tube station. Right next door to the entrance, Early Bird offers sandwiches and Continental cooked dishes, as well as a selection of Polish cakes, in a bright and airy dining area.
Lemony yellow furnishings are contrasted by black-and-white wallpaper depicting birch trees, all illuminated by a broad plate-glass front.
The food is displayed at the counter, but orders taken at the table. A frittata of the day was studded with mushrooms, which turned the egg-based dish into an unfortunate-looking grey slice. Still, a lovely hint of rosemary rendered it perfectly enjoyable.
Salmon fishcakes were moulded patties of crushed new potatoes and big chunks of salmon, generously seasoned with fresh dill. Never mind that they disintegrated at the touch of a fork – these were decent fishcakes.
It’s not obvious that Early Bird has Polish owners and staff unless you notice the Eastern European preserves on sale, and the classic Polish cakes on display.
A cheesecake had a light and crumbly texture, with a hint of lemon flavour, in the Polish way. Also very authentic- tasting was a slice of apple cake, made with chunky cinnamon apple compote and topped with a light crumble.
Local early birds may wish to take advantage of the breakfast options, which are mostly egg-based and include the likes of omelettes and scrambled eggs and served until 2pm.On an earler visit, we tried a cooked breakfast, but we think the cakes and the lunch options are more appealing dishes.