The gentrification of workhouse gruel

| | 29/03/2016

‘Porridge cafés’ have been appearing in various European cities. A sign of hipster gentrification or returning to hearty, healthy and simple food? Imogen Flynn takes a look.

Porridge, Grød, Besso… however you say it, oatmeal has never been the most glamorous of foods, despite being a longstanding staple in diets across the globe.

In the UK, porridge has often been used as a ‘belly bulger’- more sustaining than a sugary bowl of Cookie Crisp, but less ambitious than a full english breakfast. For many of us, porridge evokes childhood memories of cold mornings, slurping up undercooked oats before having to saunter off to school, not yet fully awake. But nowadays people are increasingly recognising the potential of the dish and trying to tackle porridge’s poor PR.

That is exactly the kind of forward thinking that brought about establishments such as Covent Garden’s 26 Grains or Shoreditch’s Porridge Cafe. These two independent businesses both serve bowls of warm porridge that push the boundaries past the classic milk and rolled oats combination, in an attempt to fight the bland stereotypes.

Having visited, and reveled in, the porridge paradise that is Copenhagen’s Grød, I can vouch for the positive outcomes of this new image boost. Spelt, quinoa, oats, barley, rice, buckwheat are all fundamental features of Grød’s menu. Whether you opt for more of a porridge risotto, an Asian Congee or the ever popular creamy-quinoa bowl, you will not be disappointed. You can choose your toppings or have a selection recommended to you. For example, a favourite among their clientele is almond flakes, apple slices and salted caramel.

London-based establishments in Soho, Covent Garden and Shoreditch are the key pioneers in the UK movement to popularize porridge so here’s hoping it doesn’t stop there.

So we’re with Oliver Twist on this one – more please!

Jægersborggade 50,

2200 København N