Breakfast. The most important meal of the day. A meal which means many things to different people. Continental croissants, a few slices of jam-on-toast or if you’re like me – nothing quite comes close to a mighty nostalgic bowl of my favourite breakfast cereal. The same breakfast cereal that took me through my care-free childhood years. Meet the Cereal Killer café. Britain’s first café, set up in Shoreditch, London, truly dedicated to nothing but nostalgic breakfast cereal.
Now into its fifth month of business, this quirky-comfort food venture was initially started by an equally quirky hipster pair of Belfast-born identical twins, co-owners Gary and Alan Keery. The bearded brothers boldly left behind their jobs as an e-cigarette sales manager and a Superdry senior store manager aiming for greater success. Their idea is the latest food fad to hit London’s streets spreading that sweet taste of childhood nostalgia we all know and love.
Step inside the cafe – a tiny converted video rental store on London’s famous Brick Lane, and you’re somehow transported to the family kitchen table ready to tuck-in to a milk-filled bowl of sugary delight. You sit among an array of vintage breakfast cereal boxes featuring Batman, Barbie and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles. You’re surrounded by charming childhood memorabilia as 90s pop songs and classic TV theme tunes play out as customers inspect the oh-so-sweet menu. A menu that offers over 100 different varieties of global breakfast cereal brands and 12 kinds of milk – not to mention 20 intriguing toppings.
Naturally, you can play it safe by going for a nostalgic favourite or the run-of-the-mill breakfast cereal you find on the supermarket shelves. Alternatively, why not take a leap of faith and risk a breakfast bowl cocktail involving strawberry milk and peanut-butter-cookies. Perhaps a bowl of the limited-edition Halloween cereals or mouthfuls of Count Chocula. Go for South Korean Oreos cereal or even try Poppin’ Pebbles, a berry-flavoured breakfast cereal with pieces of popping candy.
Let’s face it. London’s streets offer every kind of snack, for every consumer at any time of the day. From the likes of household café giants Starbucks and Costa coffee to the chains of take-away sandwich bars, international cuisine specialties and fast-food joints. There seems to be just enough room for some welcomed Breakfast cereal childhood nostalgia.
A bowl of breakfast cereal controversy
As the café doors opened for business, a string of media appeal poured in from as far as Germany, Mexico, South Africa and Australia. Nevertheless, apart from being the centre of curiosity, it also continues to attract its fair share of controversy by slapping a £3.20 price tag for a bowl of cornflakes in an area of the city where many live in deprivation.
Views coming from both the public and the media. Yes – we could enjoy a bowl of breakfast cereal in the comfort of our own home for a fraction of the price. However, considering most places nearby charge £5 a pint and at least £3 for a cup of coffee – it seems an affordable choice. But this is where the duo have tapped into something people have a connection with.
They want us to feel the innocent charm of going back in time to when we were kids. Does this café hit the spot where others simply fail? It certainly has the X-factor of fun, the ability to get you into a colourful breakfast mood and above all it’s different. Ultimately, Londoners will decide the eventual fate of the Cereal Killer café. Is the blend of sugar-coated nostalgia and business the way forward for similar ventures? Do Londoners love their cereal this much or will this novel idea, in time simply run out of milk?