Just on Brushfield Street, which runs along the south side of Spitalfields market, is an old-fashioned shop with a wooden front, hanging wicker baskets, and a small bench where weary shoppers can rest themselves… and recharge their batteries with some rather tasty things.
Verde & Co is somewhat legendary in London for serving the priciest hot chocolate around. Whilst the store’s quaint charm definitely warrants a perusal, its fame stems from the cocoa beverage priced at a hefty £5.50 a cup . The hot chocolate is made from Pierre Marcolini chocolate, a luxurious offering from Belgium.
It just so happened that I lived about 30 seconds walk from this store. And it just so happened that my friend, who was recuperating after a stint in hospital, required some quick breakfast magic. The plan was hatched, but the quest short; in under 2 minutes, we were standing outside, peering through the windows.
Verde and Co is deceptive. From the outside, it always looks shut. It’s hard to see through the windows and no light seems to emanate. Yet the inside, despite being small, is bright and not nearly as cramped as this Aladdin’s cave should be.
To say the inside is well-stocked with goodies would be an understatement (scroll down for more pics). The shelves are laden with jams, confectionery, sweets, old-fashioned teapots and beautiful cakes. It is almost too much to take in and requires a leisurely browse – if you can contain your excitement and refrain from trying to examine everything at once.
My friend and I clumsily squeezed ourselves onto tall seats at a wooden counter. In fact, a less generous but more accurate description would be that we groaned, creaked, shuffled and heaved ourselves onto the stalls in a most unladylike fashion. She had an excuse from recent hospitalisation; I was just being… Phoebe. The man behind the counter observed us with concern and bemusement.
“Are you all right?” the man asked.
My friend and I looked at each other and doubled over in fits of manic laughter. We threatened to fall back off the chairs again.
“We’re probably not the best people to ask…”
Bewildered, the man took our orders, which, unsurprisingly, featured two hot chocolates.
The hot chocolate comes in two sizes, which are both priced at £5.50. There is a ‘small’, which is very thick and gives a very intense chocolate flavour, or a ‘large’, which has more milk in it and is slightly milder as a result.
I can verify that both are extremely chocolatey, but if you’re a passionate chocolate fiend such as myself, you should be drinking your chocolate neat 😉
It may have been breakfast but I was not going to be deterred from ordering something to eat. Whilst my friend worked her way through a lovely, light croissant, I ordered a suckling pig and balsamic onion sandwich (medium £6.25) because I can eat absolutely anything in the morning.
I couldn’t verify just how much ‘suckling’ this pig had had, but the sandwich was served on beautifully fresh bread and had that homemade taste that…well, that you really only get at home. So comforting.
We sat on the bench outside in a cocoa coma, and watched shoppers dip in and out of Spitalfields market. A very good breakfast indeed, and definitely worth splashing out on.
Verde & Co 4.5/5 – Charming, quaint and serving up a pricey, but smooth, rich and delicious hot chocolate.
Where: 40 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6AG
When: Mon – Thurs 9am – 9pm; Friday 8am – 6pm; Sat & Sun 10am – 7pm.