A couple weeks ago I got a message from a Facebook friend in Kentucky who knows my love of Cadbury eggs. It was a link to this story.
Now like every other person at the beginning of the year, I’m trying to clean up my diet and watch what I eat after overdoing it during the holidays. But if there was ever a place to indulge in white bread and copious amounts of sugar, it would be the Cadbury Creme de la Creme Egg Cafe.
Yes, you read that right — an actual pop-up cafe that serves dishes revolving around that glorious Easter treat.
In researching the cafe, one theme became apparent: British people are really, really mad that Cadbury changed its recipe from the all-glorious Dairy Milk chocolate to “standard cocoa mix chocolate” last year. For every Facebook comment on Cadbury’s page saying “Brilliant, can’t wait to visit the cafe!” there are 10 posts saying “I won’t be eating another creme egg until you change the recipe back” and (This is a direct quote) “£6 million loss says it all. You can open this, spend millions to advertise it, wrap your eggs in 24 carat gold leaf but they will still be rubbish. Until you change back to the original recipe you will not get any of your lost customers back.”
The general British public isn’t passionate about much, but they are downright passionate about proper chocolate. But if the popularity of the Cadbury Creme Egg Cafe is any sign, some of them are hypocrites who just can’t resist a good Creme Egg gimmick or toastie. Or maybe just Americans like me who know the new British Creme Egg is still better than the ones they’re shilling in the US.
The pop-up cafe is only open Friday-Sunday from 22 January until 6 March. Walk-ins will be accepted, but they highly recommend you book a slot to avoid a long wait.
The morning spots went on sale this past Tuesday I obsessively refreshed the page. It seemed one minute they were not for sale, then the next they were all sold out — except for one spot on Sunday. Though I originally thought I would go with Stephen or a friend, I decided to snap up that solo ticket. I take myself on dates to the theatre all the time — this really wouldn’t be that different, right?
A few hours before my scheduled time at the cafe I checked the event page to confirm the address. It was then that I noticed the small print:
“Individual tickets entitle you to one menu dish only, and you may be sharing a table with others.”
It was not going to be just me, myself and I enjoying a nice Creme Egg toastie. I was going to have to socialize… with strangers. I almost backed out then and there. Why did I think going by myself would be a good idea? Why was I so insistent on booking a seat when I could just get a takeaway toastie for cheaper and avoid human interaction?
But I decided to put on my proverbial big girl panties and suck it up — what’s the worst thing that could happen, I’d be forced to make small talk with fellow Creme Egg lovers? I could handle it.
I strolled up to the cafe on Greek Street 10 minutes before my booked time.
There was a queue for takeaway and walk-ins and a queue for bookings. At our schedule time they let us in to explore the ground floor, where there was a variety of quirky and nostalgic decor.
There was also a takeaway counter on the ground floor where you could get a creme egg toastie to go for £2.
Eventually we were invited upstairs to the cafe where there were only about 6 or 7 tables. Even parties of 2 were being asked to sit with other people, so I felt less awkward about being alone.
The host kindly asked if I would mind sharing a table with a nice British family. The mother and her two grown children welcomed me in the most British fashion: they poured me a cup of tea and joined me in complaining about how warm it was in the cafe (it was unusually toasty… pun intended). We had some official Cadbury Creme de la Creme Egg Cafe water (with a fresh IKEA label on the other side of the bottle) and perused the menu.
But in true Renee fashion I had already perused the menu online and am almost embarrassed by the amount of thought I put into my order. There were only four options: a Cream Egg toastie (American translation: Grilled cheese, except the cheese is a Creme Egg), Creme Egg and soldiers (American translation: pieces of toast you dip into a Creme Egg), Creme Egg Tray Bake (American translation: chocolate cake with Creme Egg on top), or Strawberries and a mini Creme Egg.
Photo courtesy Cadbury Creme Egg Facebook page Not pictured: Strawberries and a mini Creme Egg, because it looks like strawberries with a mini Creme Egg
The toastie immediately stood out to me, as it got rave reviews on press night and isn’t something I can make at home easily. However, you can get a Creme Egg toastie from the takeaway counter, so I thought I should get something only available at the cafe. Creme Egg and Soldiers is quintessentially British, however I could easily create it at home if I wanted to. The tray bake looked nice, but reviews said it was a bit dry. And strawberries are just… strawberries. I don’t know why that is even an option. I would say no one is going to order it, but the very girl at my table did. And sure enough it was a small bowl of strawberries with a tiny Creme Egg on top. She was disappointed and supplemented it with a normal-sized Creme Egg she got downstairs. So I decided to go with my gut and get the toastie.
The Cadbury Creme de la Creme Cafe’s kitchen consists of a closet with a refrigerator, toastie maker and a crapload of Creme Eggs in it. That’s it. Though there are only a handful of tables and 4 menu items, the service is incredibly slow. The strawberries and tray bake that my tablemates ordered came out relatively quickly, but the toasties took forever. I had plenty of time to sip my tea and gaze at the cafe decor.
Finally my toastie emerged from the kitchen closet.
After one bite the gooey center could no longer be contained.
It truly was a magical, sugary, carby, delicious creation that was worth the wait and 457 calories.
My tablemates headed to the ball pit upstairs while I headed to the loo.
It was very Creme Eggy.
I had to go upstairs just to see the ball pit.
I will go to the theatre and eat by myself, but I am not brave enough to jump into a ball pit by myself.
Feeling slightly ill and on the brink of a sugar coma, it was time to head back down and return to the real world.
When you Google “Cadbury Creme Egg Cafe”, like the eggs themselves, there are two distinct opinions: it’s an eggs-cellent night out, and it’s a shameless PR stunt.
In my opinion, it’s a bit of both. It’s not a serious cafe – most of the dishes and the service are sub-par, but it’s just fun. And if it gets people talking about the cafe instead of the recipe change, Cadbury’s done its job. And all the money raised from the cafe goes to The Prince’s Trust charity, so you’re not completely lining the pockets of those evil recipe-changers at Kraft/Mondelez.
Goodnight, Cadbury Creme de la Creme Cafe. Thanks for the goo-d time!