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Friday 26 February 2016

Brunch O'Clock

On account of my bizarre work "schedule", I actually struggle to make it out for food most weekends during that magical window of opportunity, but I have managed to squeeze in a few breakfast-lunch hybrids recently. Here's some inspiration for the weekend ahead. Ready, set. BRUNCH.

Warning : This post contains strong coffee and scenes of an eggporn nature...

Salon, Brixton - The One That Takes Reservations

Surely not, right? No one takes reservations anymore. ESPECIALLY for brunch. Alright then, if you say so - see you tomorrow at 10.45 - "Isn't that still breakfast time?" (Flatmate M).

And just like that, the wait for a table was gone. Five of us rocked up to the lovely Salon in Brixton's Market Row on a Saturday morning for a spot of brunch ahead of an afternoon at Beavertown Brewery's birthday party - Flickr photos here.

In the evenings (Tue-Sat), Salon has a serious set menuto get stuck in to (£33/head at the time of writing) . The most recent list I saw had such delights as burata with blood orange, bitter leaves and hazelnuts and scallop with 'nduja, burnt apple, and grilled leek. Seasonal and inventive is their thing, and this also applies to their wonderful, affordable brunch menu.

Here's what you should look out for:

- Warm banana bread, hazelnut ganache - £3.50
- Smashed avo on toast, super seeds & pickled chilli with smoked pig's cheek lardons - £6.50
- Scrambled eggs & 'nduja on toast - £6.50
- Roast mushrooms, pickled shallots & cow's curd on toast - £7.50
- Three cheese cornbread, shredded ham hock, chipotlé slaw, poached duck egg - £9

If you ask nicely, they might just bring you some of their rather excellent sourdough doughnuts too...

Warm banana bread, hazelnut ganache - £3.50

Three cheese cornbread, shredded ham hock, chipotlé slaw, poached duck egg - £9

Three cheese cornbread, shredded ham hock, chipotlé slaw, poached duck egg - £9

Scrambled eggs & 'nduja on toast - £6.50

Smashed avo on toast, super seeds & pickled chilli with smoked pig's cheek lardons - £6.50

Smashed avo on toast, super seeds & pickled chilli with smoked pig's cheek lardons - £6.50

Salon's sourdough doughnuts

Sourdough doughnuts and flat whites

We had a roomy table to ourselves, we didn't feel rushed, portions were generous, and everything was under a tenner. Bloody Marys are £5.50 compared to £15 at Duck & Waffle. What's the catch? 


No catch. Salon is the real brunch deal. I even went back the following week for more banana bread and doughnuts. Don't miss the 'nduja scrambled eggs - they're something else.

Did I mention that you can book? Call ahead on 02075019152 if you still remember how to ring people from your smartphone.

18 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LD

Photos on Flickr - click here

Fields, Clapham Common - The One That's Literally In A Field

Fields is a funny little place, standing all alone on Clapham Common, like the poor kid that's been left behind after team captains have chosen their players. Except that on this occasion, they foolishly overlooked Lionel Messi, for there is some magical stuff going on in this tiny kitchen from the folk behind the outrageously popular Milk in Balham (another super brunch spot).

The menu is ever changing, but one dish that is always bound to be on there is their outstanding plate of poached eggs with Workshop Coffee's Cult of Done espresso hollandaise, and drycure bacon (or Hansen & Lydersen salmon) - one of the finest brunch dishes in the capital. There will also be a fair few smoked ingredients, as they do a lot of smoking on-site.

Here are some enticing examples from my most recent visit:

- Sprouted grain granola, suffolk yoghurt, smoked cos apple, cardamom, filo - £7.50
- Sourdough croque madame, gloucester old spot ham, smoked egg yolk, emmental - £9.50
- Carribean doubles, chickpea, plantain, tamarind ketchup, cucumber pickle - £8
- Ghetto omelette, seared wild mushrooms, burnt brie, black garlic marjoram - £9.20
- Masa breakfast taco, grilled octopus, smoked pumpkin mayo, spring green slawo - £9.20
- Peat-smoked lardy cake - £2.50 // - Pandan softserve & toffee popcorn - £3

Sourdough croque madame, gloucester old spot ham, smoked egg yolk, emmental - £9.50

Sourdough croque madame, gloucester old spot ham, smoked egg yolk, emmental - £9.50

Poached eggs with cult of done espresso hollandaise & drycure bacon - £8.50

Poached eggs with cult of done espresso hollandaise & drycure bacon - £8.50

Pandan softserve & toffee popcorn - £3

Fields is currently only open Friday-Sunday, from 9am-5pm (4pm on Friday), but check the website before you go to be safe. Wrap up warm, there's more space outdoors than in, and it's not the cosiest of cafés. But you'd be a fool to skip it on those grounds.

Fields -

2 Rookery Road, Clapham Common, SW4 9DD

Photos on Flickr - click here

Flour To The People, Battersea - The One At The End Of My Road

No matter what I throw at you, your ideal brunch spot is probably still the one at the end of your road, right? In my case, that's Flour To The People on Battersea Park Road, a snug sourdough bakery and brunch café with see-through toasters on every table. 

If you want your money to go a long way, order Toast To The People - for £6.95, you have access to an endless supply of freshly baked sourdough, plus two sides, and homemade spreads. Alternatively, I can recommend the Eggs Benedict-ish that involves bacon, eggs, hollandaise and their own sourdough crumpets, and the Avo & Egg Slam - smashed avo, sweet chilli, lime, feta, and two poached eggs on sourdough. Both dishes are pictured below.

Avo & Egg Slam - smashed avocado with sweet chilli, lime, feta & two poached eggs on sourdough - £9.90

Eggs Benedict-ish - sourdough crumpets, 2 eggs, bacon & house made hollandaise - £8.75

Tie it in with a visit to Park Road Kitchen, Draft House Westbridge, Battersea Flower Station, and La Moka Café to make the most of an awkward trip. Swing by Battersea Park for a round of minigolf afterwards too.  If you are still in the area come the evening, Flour To The People have just started serving sourdough pizzas from 5pm-10pm. Read more here.

Flour To The People -

Breakfast / brunch served everyday from 8am

573 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, SW11 3BJ

Photos on Flickr - click here


Here's a few more thoughts from my back catalogue / to-do list...

If you want to start early, get over to Dishoom from 8am on weekdays and 9am on weekends for their bacon naan rolls and chai.  Pimlico Fresh's french toast is second to none, and they open at 7.30am on weekdays (9am on weekends). Also, Ember Yard & Dehesa in Soho have just launched an enticing breakfast menu - read more here. Of course, Duck and Waffle is there for you at all hours!

Eggporn at Duck & Waffle

If you can make it through to 12pm, you should also get yourself over to Brunswick House in Vauxhall for their "weekend lunch", or Donostia Social Club in Pop Brixton as it opens, before the crowds descend.

Brunswick House

Donostia Social Club on Flickr

Top of my to-do list is The Good Egg in Stoke Newington. After a couple of successful years on the street food & popup scene, Joel Braham, Alex Coppard & co. successfully crowdfunded and opened an all-day Jewish soul food spot on Church Street. Pretty ashamed I haven't been in to say hello yet! 

Elsewhere, exciting brunch menus have appeared at Berber & Q, The Other Room, Shotgun. Street Kitchen London Fields, Kricket, and more. 

If you are more of a lie-in and Sunday roast fan, then look no further than Blacklock and Zelman Meats in Soho. Sorted.

Zelman Meats photos on Flickr

Happy eating!


P.S. You may have noticed the word Flickr flying around. I've just started putting photos up there, and I will be updating it most days so please check it out here, and follow me if you have a Flickr account!

Crater Lake, Oregon


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