Excellent coffee, superb food and prize babychinos. But that’s not all that makes this fun, welcoming little place in Summer Hill a must-visit in the café scene.
We don’t know where owner Eliot Ritchie got the idea of calling his café ‘Goblin’ from. I’ve got that horrible feeling he might’ve told me. More than once. But it was probably when we were down the pub.
Yes, we’re good friends with Eliot – and all the Ritchie family in fact. But no, the things we’re about to say about Goblin Café have nothing whatsoever to do with nepotism, favouritism or the fact that I’m trying to get out of my round at the bar… well, maybe a little bit of that last one.
No, the reason Goblin is such a bloody good café is through the sheer determination, passion and skill that exist behind its doors.
And the food…
We were at Goblin for lunch recently, catching up with the ever-spectacular Dee from MamaStylista.com. At our recommendation, Dee picked the all-day Spanish breakfast. It was the first time she’d ever had a meal served in a skillet. I don’t think it’ll be the last.
It’s a lot of food though, so unless you’re hungry, choose something else. It’s a master stroke of braised free-range eggs in the pan with crispy bacon, spiced tomato and homemade beans, and sourdough toast all served in the pan on a slate slab tray. Epic!
Mrs Romance went for the smoked trout and poached eggs. It came with a sweetcorn and avocado salsa – two of Mrs R’s ultimate favourite things to eat. Needless to say she was even happier than ever!
For my part, I’ve been thinking about their burger ever since Eliot described it to me a while back. I had to have one, and I’m glad I did.
Served in a soft, sweet bun (not a brioche) this burger really took me back to our NYC burger-off challenge. The patty, which had been carefully hand-formed, was tender, full of flavour and – most importantly for me – contained no gristle. That shit upsets me.
With the patty comes a little bit of rocket salad and a spot of fresh tomato. Then plenty of crispy bacon, lots of delicious pickle and a very tasty red Leicester cheese. And the shoestring fries were also very welcome to be on my plate – even if it was for a little time.
Convinced by Eliot himself to try the sweets – even though we weren’t sure if there would be room – we stared down at our desserts.
The orange cake was beautiful. So delicate yet full of flavour, and the syrup on top was countered perfectly with the sharpness of the berries. It was a very smart dish.
The ricotta and buttermilk hotcakes wouldn’t normally be something I’d order. I had a bad pancake experience in a roadside café once, you see. Well, if a positive experience can undo a bad one, this was just the remedy. I have no idea how the kitchen made those pancakes so light and fluffy. Incredible.
They came drizzled with tea-poached summer fruit and honeycomb butter for goodness sake!
I should also tell you we tried to juice of the day: kale, celery, apple and ginger. Doesn’t sound awesome? Well, it is. Very surprising.
I’ve never known a café owner before, so it’s been an enlightening experience to see how hard the people in this industry work. We’ve seen this little place grow up from the old abandoned pizza shop it was, and we’ve watched as the community have slowly discovered the quality of Goblin’s fare.
I always enjoy heading to Goblin. I doubt it’s only because of our connection with it – it’s just one of those places that feels instantly welcoming, like you’ve just arrived home.
If and when you go to Goblin, tell Eliot we said hi!
Open: Mon-Fri 7am – 4pm, Sat-Sun: 8am – 4pm. Also watch this space for night opening times for the new Goblin Bar.
6 Sloane Street,
Do you have a favourite café? Where’s the best babychino? Have you ever seen a goblin?! Tell us in the comments!