August 4, 2022

London’s best Mexican breakfast kiosk has arrived in Hackney

A serious new Mexican breakfast and lunch kiosk has arrived in the grounds of St John’s Church in Hackney, east London.

Last month Max Fishman, owner of the Quarter Store wine shop and supplier to Mare Street, took over the space, which is owned by the church but has not been operational since the start of the pandemic. Fishman describes the bandstand as “a beloved neighborhood hangout”, which residents have begged to return and which he is trying to revive with “good food, coffee and a sense of community”.

To achieve this, Fishman named chef Rodrigo Cervantes, originally from Mexico City but who has recently cut his teeth in London kitchens: his CV includes a string of London’s hottest restaurants of late, including Smoking Goat, Koya, Rita’s, Gezellig, Bad Sports and most recently Dom’s Subs.

It’s the start for Cervantes, who told Eater he actually had “one foot out of the kitchen” before the opportunity with Fishman came through a mutual friend earlier this year. There are plans to introduce a grill, even nixtamalize their own corn and make masa for tortillas. So far, after testing a number of purchased masas, Cervantes has opted for Cool Chile’s, which he shapes into thin tortillas for breakfast tacos, thicker versions for lunchtime gorditas, and chips for the chilaquiles. “We’ll see how it goes!” says Cervantes, knowing there is only so much he can achieve in such a modest kitchen. Of course, it will soon be offering Mexican sandwiches made with telera rolls and soups.

The Quarter Kitchen kiosk and the tables and chairs on its terrace in the park.
Adam Coghlan

But Cervantes’ signature pending dish is actually a breakfast burrito, which is made with a purchased flour tortilla. (The leader tries to secure goods from nearby Sonora, which has become well known for its own very thin copies of the form.)

He bases the wrap on the McDonald’s breakfast burrito that is sold at the fast food restaurant’s branches across America. It features a heavily seasoned mix of scrambled eggs, diced peppers, American cheese, salsa, and a breakfast sausage patty. It’s a winning combination; an invigorating start to the day.

“We wanted it to be fun in a space that’s not a restaurant and it’s not a cafe — that’s mostly the idea,” Cervantes said. He plans to change things up regularly, with soups and other breakfast items set to appear in the coming weeks. Breakfast tacos right now see a corn tortilla topped with a charred salsa roja, a fried egg and four slices of good smoked bacon glazed with maple syrup and sugar. The taco ranchero (below) comes with black beans, a hash brown, salsa verde and a fried egg. The tortillas come in twos. Breakfasts like this are rare in London.

Fishman was also keen to point out Quarter Kitchen’s coffee program, which is also fitting. “We’ve also moved our coffee operation, which we’ve developed a solid reputation for at the store, to the kitchen,” he said. The house coffee is supplied by Origin and the filters are sourced from guest roasters like Skylark, Crankhouse and Process.

For now, Quarter Kitchen is open Tuesday-Sunday, with food Wednesday-Sunday (daily 8am-4pm

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ