I’ve mentioned it before and I’m gonna say it again: I LOVE BRUNCH.
As a maple syrup enthusiast, it’s the perfect opportunity to seize that bottle and get pouring – pancakes, waffles, crepes and baked oatmeal all become way better with some syrup. The thing is, I’m perfectly capable of making some kickass pancakes myself. I’ve been disappointed many a time from ordering pancakes because a) they’re always boring as heck in the UK (the word ‘buttermilk’ is the most extravagant it gets) and b) NOT ENOUGH MAPLE SYRUP. They usually give you a drizzle of syrup already on the plate and when the dish itself costs more than a bottle of the stuff, ummmm I’d like a bit more. I’m a maple monster, guys. Plus drizzling it onto the pancakes? That’s a big no-no for me (unless it’s for aesthetic reasons, yo). I like to have a little puddle of syrup for dipping cos then you get to taste all that tree sap goodness.
Big pancake rant over. Sozza for that, had to get it off my chest and also explain why I keep ordering eggs at brunch places.
So yes, the primary reason is the pancake disappointment (although I WILL keep searching for a good pancake place in London) the secondary reason is that I suck at cooking eggs. I even had to come up with my own method for frying eggs because it was the only way I could make them the way I like.
Enter this new series on here – it’s brunch review time! I’m going to be going around London hitting up some fancy cafés and brasseries all for the sake of pancakes and eggs. If you have recommendations you’d like me to check out, please tweet me that jazz! I’m also working on a ‘London’ page on here for visitors! It’ll have little tips and my personal fave places with hyperlinks to any reviews I do.
First up, St Clements – a relatively new café in Parsons Green, a little area in my West London borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. It borders on Chelsea so I knew the vibe would be quite chic with that messily-organised edge. Weck jars and tinted bottles stacked up on shelves, big beautiful salads and sky-blue tiled tables. Not an overly-extravagant pastry in sight but a large variety of goodies from brownies to streusel cake, you know, the type of thing your mum would make for you as an after-school snack. This was just to my liking!
Me: Of course I had to have a coffee so I went for my usual, a cappuccino – I was pretty impressed that they had a proper barista there as evident from the latte art, because I’ve only ever experienced this in places where the primary reason to go is the coffee. It wasn’t as strong as I would have liked (although I did have a cold so that probably contributed) but it had a good amount of foam, they used organic milk and the coffee had a great flavour so thumbs up from me!
He: Freshly squeezed orange juice and no complaints about it. Orange juice is pretty much always a fail-safe option.
Me: I was feeling the avocado vibe so I went for a pretty simple choice of fried eggs piled atop some thick, crusty sourdough and served with rocket, chilli flakes and an avocado half. The eggs were perfectly cooked – runny yolk and crispy edges with NO gross, undercooked egg white, thank goodness. As they have a griddle just behind the counter the eggs were piping hot, and as cold fried eggs suck I was very pleased by this. The only thing I would have liked more is if I had a bit of flaky salt to mash up with the avocado, 1/4 of which was also bruised. Sad face.
He: Is always hungry so ordered probably the heartiest dish on the menu – two eggs baked in a personal skillet with chorizo, tomato and spinach served with the same chunky, delicious bread. I had been eyeing this dish on the menu too and was planning to taste as much as possible so insisted on eating some. Again the eggs were great with a perfectly runny yolk, a quality which can be difficult to get when you’re baking them as it’s really easy to let the eggs go too far. The sauce was quite rich but not too acidic and, as I think eggs don’t stand up to acidity very well, it was appreciated. Surprisingly we both found that the flavour of the chorizo didn’t come through very much. It could’ve been that the type of chorizo used was a mild because I really couldn’t taste that smoky, spiciness which usually dominates any chorizo-infused dish. If you’d ordered it mainly for the paprika flavour of the meat I’d say you would’ve been disappointed, but it was still completely delicious in its own right.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to try any of the treats in the photo above but, as I’m 200% sure I’ll be going back, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so in the future! So if you ever find yourself in Parsons Green, hungry and needing a caffeine boost, I’d recommend moving your legs asap past that Pain Quotidien by the tube station and over to this charming café.
St Clements Cafe
Brunch and coffee for two – around £25
201 New Kings Road,