Before the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch, directly opposite Liverpool Street station's main entrance, is the Polo 24hr Bar.
Tea at the bar
As the title misleadingly suggests, this is actually a bar, not a cafe, or breakfast spot like I thought. It looks like a skinny bar on the outside, but inside it looks like a cafe from the my parents teenage years with off-white tiles, oxblood red and a wood-coloured decor. It was terribly '70's with wooden tables, but also achingly contemporary with fancy coffee machines, providing a contrast against a menu of traditional British breakfasts I grew up with.
PoloBar is only small, but upstairs there are booths as well as tables and chairs for couples and single diners like myself. On the back wall there are plugs too, so I could charge my phone for free.
It was comforting to find somewhere cosy and close to the station, where I could relax and not worry about keeping up appearances after I'd spent the day exploring a part of London I'd just discovered.
PoloBar is cheap too. For a cup of loose leaf green tea I paid £2.20, which is a bargain for this side of London.
I was also pleasantly surprised that a venue that boasts traditional British fare held such a variety of herbal and loose leaf teas. I found myself torn between cammomile flowers, Chinese green tea, rooibos and the fresh coffee.
As a 24 'bar', PoloBar, naturally sells a range of hearty meals, perfect for when you've had a night out and want familiar, filling, family food. Or at least, that's how I saw it, when I eyed the menu of classic breakfasts, steak burgers and eggs benedict.
Having discovered this little gem, with its purse-friendly prices, friendly staff, who don't mind you sitting with a cuppa whilst you talk avidly on your phone, and more-than-welcome seating, I know where I'll be headed after a night out in East London.