I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people may be surprised to hear MOR Bakery & Kitchen in Stratford is still here. After all, lockdown was a challenge for even the most established of businesses, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it had seen off one that had been open for a matter of days before all of it’s potential customers were basically told to stay away.
But it seems it’s going to take more than a global pandemic to put the brakes on these guys and having finally visited I can see why. For the past few months I’ve been getting an inkling of their passion from MOR’s social media, but trying their food in person and meeting them has made it crystal clear why they’re not just here, but proving a real hit.
Before Covid hit, David and wife Danni were gearing up to launch MOR in Bell Court in Stratford after months of preparation. With a name that is the Swedish for ‘mother’ – the affectionate name for a sourdough starter – MOR references its Scandinavian influence and as well as turning out beautiful breads and pastries the plan was to have a 25-cover eaterie and open kitchen area.
Then Covid happened.
Despite its catastrophic consequences, it didn’t stop them. They continued with the bakery, providing the people of Stratford with much-needed bread and pastry, as well as linking suppliers with consumers by selling their produce for them, not to mention things like sourdough kits, pizza kits and more.
Unsurprisingly, they won people over and I’ve watched their reputation go from strength to strength so it was a delight to see them finally be able to open their doors and start offering sit-down creations as well as their takeaway wares.
I visited on a sunny Friday to check out their brunch menu. As well as indoor seating, they’ve got a few tables outside in Bell Court so if you’ve got a pooch you can take them along, or just enjoy the sunshine while you sip on great coffee and munch your way through some of their menu items.
Of course, there are cinnamon rolls, croissants, bread and their now-famous ‘Cruffins’, but you can go one step further with their brunch items. From house granola to a healthy ‘morning plate, baked eggs, avo on toast or MOR’s only beans, there’s plenty to start your day, not to mention some rather tasty-sounding Tartines – open sandwiches on a choice of sourdough with various toppings or sandwiches and soup.
I went for something that came highly recommended and perhaps isn’t on every other brunch menu out there – MOR’s sweet potato rosti with smashed avo, poached egg and maple syrup, plus extra grilled halloumi or bacon.
It was a good choice. A slight touch of heat to the rosti to counterbalance any sweetness, with a similar contrast of its soft inside and crunchy outer coating. In my humble opinion halloumi was the right choice for this – it’s salty halloumi providing the perfect contrast to the sweet maple syrup.
Of course, smashed avo is always a winner and I’m always up for a poached egg. A decent dish is always somehow more than just the sum of its individual elements and this was a perfect example of that. I’ve not had a brunch item that was quite as appealing on the menu – or as tasty – in some time.
That dish was plenty, but it would have been rude to leave without taking some of MOR’s pastry dishes with me, including one of their much-loved peanut butter and jelly cruffins and some cinnamon buns.
I’ll confess to potentially not doing them justice by waiting to eat them until the following day, but I can see why people love them. I’m not sure I’m the queen of Cruffins, it has to be said, but there’s no disputing that these pastries are made with the same passion that has seen MOR defy all the odds to still be around despite what 2020 has thrown at it.
If you’re in Stratford, I can wholeheartedly recommend popping in – whether to grab a bit of edible happiness in the form of a pastry or sit down for a brunch to rival any of the others out there at the moment. You won’t regret it.
[I paid in full at MOR Bakery. They’re also on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme if you want to get down there before it finishes]