What's The Cereal Killer Café Actually Like?

Ben Norum
By Ben Norum Last edited 36 months ago
What's The Cereal Killer Café Actually Like? ★★★★☆ 4
The opening of the Cereal Killer Cafe saw a couple of people dressed up as familiar cereal characters, such as this Honey Monster...
The opening of the Cereal Killer Cafe saw a couple of people dressed up as familiar cereal characters, such as this Honey Monster...
...and this Coco Monkey.
...and this Coco Monkey.
Our bowl of sugar overload. And a coffee just to keep things sedate.
Our bowl of sugar overload. And a coffee just to keep things sedate.
Limited edition Royal Wedding cereal boxes at Cereal Killer Café
Limited edition Royal Wedding cereal boxes at Cereal Killer Café
Cereal Killer Café upstairs
Cereal Killer Café upstairs
Cereal Killer Café downstairs
Cereal Killer Café downstairs
Cereal Killer Café founders Alan and Gary Keery
Cereal Killer Café founders Alan and Gary Keery

The UK's first café dedicated entirely to cereal opened on Brick Lane this morning, with queues out the door from 7am. We were there to see whether it would bowl us over or let us down like an own-brand box of cornflakes.

The concept

Cereal Killer Café is the brainwave of Belfast-born twins Alan and Gary Keery, who hit on the idea last year. Gary tells us: “I was hungry and kept passing places serving Mexican, Chinese, burgers and all sorts — but all I really wanted to eat was a bowl of cereal. We decided we wanted to open a cereal café and did some market research which showed that people liked the idea.” He also tells us that “if it was going to work we knew it had to be in Shoreditch; it’s where things are happening and where people embrace originality”.

The cereals

Cereal Killer Café opens from 7am-10pm, serving over 120 different kinds of cereal (including gluten-free), 13 milks and more than 20 additional toppings. The cereals range from British favourites to US and Asian varieties rarely seen on these shores. They all cost £2.50 for a small bowl, £3 for a medium bowl, and £3.50 for a large with milk included. Toppings cost 50p and a few premium milks cost an additional 20p.

We felt it appropriate to go all out, so feasted on a medium bowl of US peanut butter toast crunch flakes, pimped with maltesers and served with a mini bottle of banana milk (there's a photo of it in the gallery above). And we couldn’t resist a small second helping in the form of Oreo O’s — a sugary cereal based on the dark-coloured cookies — which is now only made in South Korea. Throw in a black coffee and we were left well and truly buzzing, but we’ll be back soon to try a bowlful of Popping Pebbles, which are imported from the US and consist of multi-coloured, berry-flavoured puffed rice and popping candy.

The rest

It may be all about the cereals but there’s a fair few other options, too. Toast with varying toppings (strawberry fluff, Nutella, Marmite) costs £1.50 for two slices; there are 12 different Pop-Tart flavours; and you can tuck into cereal-themed cakes such as Rice Krispie Victoria sponges and Coco Pop brownies. Drinks focus on teas and coffee from nearby roastery Allpress, and there’s also a range of juices and canned drinks.

The place

The environment certainly milks the cereal theme. The small site’s bare brick walls are enlivened by swathes of cereal boxes — including those emblazoned with the likes of Batman, Barbie and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles — and decorated with memorabilia such as cereal box giveaways and vintage milk bottles. Portraits of serial killers — Hannibal Lecter and Dexter, not real ones — made with cereal are a focal point, while the brightly-coloured basement that holds most of the seats looks like a child’s bedroom. A feel-good soundtrack spans Queen and the theme from Ghostbusters.

The verdict

There are a few details which need ironing out: we’re given a very slippy tray to carry downstairs loaded with bowls, cups and milk bottles, and a slow iPad-based payment system holds the queue up. Other than that, we’re very impressed.

Yes it’s a gimmick, but Cereal Killer Café is also fun, affordable and downright different. In the words of Tony the tiger: it’s grrrr-eat!

Cereal Killer Café is at 139 Brick Lane, E1 6SB. Coincidentally, it’s on the corner of Bacon Street.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Last Updated 10 December 2014

lowri

Amazing!! Simply fabtastic.

Tony

I love the idea! Sorry to be a kill-joy, but it's definitely not the 'World's First'. There was one in my native Chicago a little while ago. It only lasted for a few months before going out of business...

Ginsworthy

Does sound like a rejected plot point from a Nathan Barley script. Not that I object ideologically to it, just seems a parody of itself.

Sad that it's taken over the premises of fantastic independent film rental shop Close Up though.

Andrew Petherick

Bound to be rammed with Hoxton types with ironic mountain-men beards, turn-ups and lumberjack shirts. The only thing that they have in common with the great out-doors is the sheep mentality that drives them all into one place to buy a bowl of cereal for £2.50. Would be funny if it wasn't desperately sad.

Jordan Tunnicliff

How is £2.50 for a small bowl affordable?

Don't worry I'll wait for your response.

PTC Photo

haha, looking at the beards, it could only be in Shoreditch. why does everyone in that part of town look the same? not these two, i know they are bros! ironic that arty individualistic types could all morph into the same person!

anyway, good idea but you can get most of the Yank cereals in Tesco now

The Ungentle Author

And round the corner the cat café looks emptier and emptier as the novelty has worn off. Oh, Shoreditch and your mock lumberjack child/men! Brick Lane is littered with your discarded ukes, hula-hoops and burlesque costumes. "Oh look, art made of Lego. How ironically 8-bit!" Go have a shave and FUCK OFF!

Kimberly

It's absolutely fabulous that one shop has elicited such a range of different reactions. It's a bit like Marmite - seems like you either love it or hate it - but either way these guys have done a great job in getting their name out there!

Tania Hawthorne-Marchori

Every time I read about this place I think, has no one seen the movie 'Flakes'? Because it is never referenced and yet seems like it would be a definite source of inspiration!

Mauro Murgia

This review just made me lose respect in Londonist. 4/5 for this place? So what do you give to a Michelin restaurant?

DrDNoble

It's a cute idea, but they have been around in North America for well over a decade. they are usually quite popular when built around College & University campuses. Prices sound a bit high considering there is minimal waitstaff, but let's be honest you can't pay the rent at 99p a bowl.

Ted X

Ben Norum is so out of touch with reality. I am now going to take ALL Londonist food/ restaurant reviews with a pinch of salt going forward. Hipsters are ruining London and making lives difficult for the poor working class who they despise and marginalise.

Sam

I don't mind this cafe at all - but I can't stand the misplaced comments on it's originality and novelty - see this 2007 film (Flakes) which embodies both the idea and the feel : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt04...