Review – The Blue Legume

The Blue Legume in Islington serves cheap, tasty and beautiful breakfast dishes, mains and lush fruit juices. It is very popular with fashionable mothers and their sustainable designer-wear babies, but despite of (or perhaps because of) the background noise of the odd child it is a place that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Their mediterranean breakfast at £6.95 comes on a huge plate and is very recommended. It gives you tasty grilled halloumi, spicy grilled lamb sausage, a softly poached egg, feta cheese, marinated olives, fresh tomatoes, cucumber and brown toast with a little jam cup. Apart from tasting amazing it is an absolute beauty to look at. Makes you feel like you’re dining somewhere quite fancy. Amy ordered this and I suffered from extreme food envy.

I had panfried mushrooms on toast with creme fraiche for £6.96, which is a true feast for the mushroom fans out there. Apart from the mushroom toast at Le Pain Quotidien I think this is the best I’ve ever had. Fresh sour cream with mushrooms is much more exciting than it sounds, for with plenty of newly middled pepper and some salt it really tickles your tastebuds. Delicious. The mushrooms were neat with perfect consistency, and and there were loads of them. They could be salted a bit more, but since there’s salt at the table I suppose that’s not really a complaint.

Other breakfast dishes that are well worth a try are their Welsh rarebit and their eggs benedict. The latter are incredibly tasty yet mellow, and as usual for this place, very filling yet beautifully presented.

Their coffee is made by skillful baristas, and their cappuccino had smooth, nutty notes. On previous visits I’ve had their fruit juices which seem on the pricey side until they arrive at your table: they are not so much fruit juices as semi-smoothies. With all the mashed up fruit they are actually quite filling. I had the “Carrot, orange and ginger” mix, which is a refreshing wake-up drink, but regret not trying their more adventurous “Apple, celery and mint”, or the slightly Swiss herb doctor-sounding “Carrot, celery and beetroot”.

The Blue Legume (which also exists in Stoke Newington where it started up) have their own range of olive oils and jam jars. I didn’t buy anything because it was quite pricey but they looked very pretty. Astonishingly, their website has an online booking system which just reserves a table for you and your desired number of people at a given time. Sounds basic but this appears to be a rarity compared to other places: no forced signing up to table-websites, no spammy notification emails and no privacy infringements (and importantly no automated passive-aggressive follow-up emails if you fail to show… not that you ever would for this place).

An important plus for the Blue Legume is the service, which is incredibly friendly and attentive even when it is busy (and it does get very busy after lunch). On my last visit I was nursing a hangover and before even sitting down the waiter had spotted the Anadin-carton in my hand and fetched a glass of water. Because of my obsessive photo-taking for the blog, they also thought me and Amy were tourists and kindly offered to take a photo of us in the restaurant. I didn’t really want to admit to being a wannabe-food blogger… so we pretended to be tourists, awkwardly clinging on to the olive oils.

8.5 meatballs out of 10.

The Blue Legume, 177 Upper Street, Islington N1 1RG.

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