Recently opened in Upper Gardner Street, 640 East are making the most of their roomy, refurbished premises. Having started out offering ‘coffee by day and beers by night’ from two converted shipping containers in Canary Wharf, they’ve since grown into a second venue in Bethnal Green, a third in Bristol and are now offering an all-day food menu at their latest spot in North Laine.
Formerly home to Silo, the one-time warehouse has kept all its post-industrial cool, but, with the rough edges smoothed out and the surfaces softened, it has a more polished feel. The open kitchen now runs along the back wall with an impressive wood-fuelled firepit at its centre. From here brunch and breakfast is served by day, with cocktails and seasonally inspired small plates dished up in the evenings, with weekend DJ sets, guest chef pop-ups and special events to highlight up and coming culinary talent.
I first popped in one Monday night in December, for a glass of wine and a couple of (very tasty) small plates, and have been keen to come back for brunch.
An extensive menu of teas and coffees is posted in the entrance lobby, from where you can pick up drinks and pastries to go, and we start with some fragrant Earl Grey while we contemplate the breakfast and brunch options. There’s something to interest everyone, like crispy pork belly served with pak choi and salted cucumber, or a slap up 640 breakfast with the works for meat lovers, and smashed pumpkin on sourdough, and apple and ginger porridge with almond milk for the plant-based brigade.
We choose from the ‘bowls by day’ list: A burrata bowl for Frances and a Buddha bowl for me (both £9). The artisanal bowls have been made-to-measure at nearby Potter’s Thumb and come full of intriguing tastes and textures. A ball of creamy, fresh burrata sits on top of a bed of braised green lentils, with roasted beets and green beans, all smothered in romesco sauce. The smoky tomato sauce, mild cheese and earthy root vegetables making for a winning winter’s brunch. The Buddha bowl sounds a little worthy at first glance – roasted sprouts, kale, roasted carrots, spinach, smashed pumpkin and grains – but the flavour is superb. The sprouts are crunchy with singed and nutty edges. Soft roasted wedges of sweet pumpkin and golden carrot contrast with fresh, crunchy leaves, and sprouted black quinoa, all dressed with pumpkin seed pesto, a dash of sesame oil and topped with strips of crispy fried cavolo nero. It’s a mouth-watering combination and sufficiently virtuous to warrant dessert. We share a generous slice of lemon tart (£3) and sip top-notch flat whites as we watch the comings and goings of the Saturday market outside. It’s the perfect spot for a very Brighton brunch.
39 Upper Gardner Street. 640east.co.uk