A dish from the Middle East that’s become increasingly popular in recent years, shakshuka is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner – a delicious bowl of eggs braised in a spiced tomato sauce, usually served with freshly baked bread. Cafe Loren owner Lee Penn is a huge fan which is why his Camden-based restaurant specialises in this one dish. He first learned to make the dish from his grandmother, who cooked it for the family often. But he soon branched out to innovate many variations, running his own shakshuka restaurant in Israel before moving to London and launching Cafe Loren.
Just under the bridge by Camden Lock, several small tables are nestled in the space beneath one of the arches, right at the heart of Camden’s best shopping and eating. It’s a cosy little space, warm and welcoming.
The menu is short and sweet; eight different shakshukas plus a seasonal special that changes daily and a few sharing plates that make a great shared starter or a handy lunch for one on their own. There are also a few sweet treats if you want to pop in for a quick coffee break rather than a full meal.
Not all the shakshuka options include tomato – there’s a Green Shakshuka (£8.70) featuring spinach, leeks, green peppers, avocado and basil and a White Shakshuka (£8.60) that combines onions, mushrooms, feta and cream cheese.
We start with the Mediterranean Plate (£5.50) of challah bread, homemade hummus, cheese burakas and olives. Also on the board are sharp salty olives, some crunchy slices of cucumber and a glossy pot of tahini. The hummus is delicious, fresh and with great texture and flavour. The cheese buraka is lifted by the properly tangy mature cheese within and the challah bread is wonderfully fresh and soft.
Lee explains that he buys the bread in fresh every day from a local specialist bakery.
Red Shakshuka (£8.50) is a classic combination of eggs poached in a tomato, onion, red pepper, girl and harissa mix. It comes with olives, tahini and a delicious plump pitta bread. I find the sauce a little light and liquidy – I prefer my shakshuka sauce to be richer and more cooked down, but the flavours are delicious and wonderful with the pitta.
The Green Shakshuka (£8.70) is likewise quite wet, though that works well for dipping chunks of the seeded brown roll. It comes with a tangy garlic sauce and I add a tiny pot of smoked salmon on the side (80p). I love this idea of a green shakshuka and the basil flavour of the sauce is delightful.
Drinks include the usual hot teas, coffees and Hot chocolate (£2.85) plus a selection of freshly made fruit and vegetable smoothies and a list of iced coffees for summer.
Open a year this week, Cafe Loren has already built up a loyal customer base who drop by regularly for a tasty meal at any time of the day. Open from 8.00 am to 8.30 pm, this is a lovely addition to the food options around Camden Lock.
Kavey Eats dined as guests of Cafe Loren.
Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!18 Comments to "Shaking the Shakshuka at Cafe Loren, Camden"
Love the idea of the green version too! Cafe’ Loren so reminds me on Naples though.
Aaah really? I’ve been to the Amalfi Coast but didn’t spend much time in Naples itself, would like to go again and get to know it better.
Wow, a shakshuka restaurant! I quite like mine wet, so you can mop them up with bread. The green and white ones sound fantastic.
Yeah that was a definite plus. I think I just wanted a slightly richer thicker sauce.
Love shakshuka and this place looks awesome. I love your reviews, they almost make me feel like I have been along for the ride!
It’s a lovely place! And thank you, that’s a HUGE compliment!
Loved your review. The place looks amazing.
Eight different shakshukas! Sounds amazing. I’d love to visit this place one day.
Yeah, it’s a great choice! Hope you get to visit!
What a fun restaurant. I have been into Middle Eastern cooking of late. I still have not made this dish. Got to try it one of these days. Your meal looks really good.
I’m definitely inspired to get more creative in the shakshuka department! Thanks Peter!
I love that there is a restaurant dedicated to shakshuka! This is our favourite dish to make when money is low.
WTF – Eight Shakshukas? EIGHT!! Awesome.
What a lovely authentic cafe, I would love to try shakshuka as I keep reading about it everywhere!
I do love a shakshouka, can’t believe I’d not come across it until last year! Will have to investigate this place next time I’m in Camden.
Wow, I didn’t know there could be so many versions of Shakshuka. Looks like you had a fabulous time x
I absolutely LOVE Shakshuka! The green version sounds interesting! Will have to visit Loren next time I’m down in London!