I was supposed to spend the day with my brother Simon but he had to go into work so I was at a loose end with no plans so decided to have a relaxed day, first off grabbing breakfast at Patisserie Valerie in Covent Garden where I got a big cup of coffee and an Almond Croissant which, although a little dry was still very tasty, flaky and with a healthy filling of Almond Paste (if anyone has a recommendation for a really stand out patisserie in London I would love to hear it). At lunch I headed to London Bridge for a wander around one of my favourite places, Borough Market.
It is always full of amazing sights and smells. Its being redeveloped a bit at the moment so is a little confused but most of the stalls I remembered and loved were still there. I was having a bout of indecision over my lunch choice but eventually settled on the hot chorizo sandwich from Brindisa but the queue was way too long so went to a place I had been meaning to try for a few years, the Ostrich burger from the Gamston Wood Farm stand. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I mean who knows what ostrich is supposed to taste like. I thought maybe it would be slightly gamey or maybe be more of a poultry based flavour. In fact it was actually a little bland and I missed that beefy juicy awesomeness you get with a good burger.
Unfortunately they are not cooked to order and so mine was cooked beyond where I would normally like (because of the speedy turn around it might not be cooked to your order but it wont have sat out too long). The meat wasn’t dry just not juicy, but it turns out that ostritch is very very lean meat but then I should probably of guessed this. Because of this it is not a great choice for burger meat because it needs the fat in there to create that juicy flavourful patty you expect. It was served with a choice of mustard, mayo or cranberry along with salad and onions. I went for the cranberry and no onions. The cranberry was a good choice, it added an appreciated sweetness and flavour to an otherwise dull burger. The bread was more successful, a nice balance between the very soft and the crunchy; unfortunately the redeeming features about the burger were not enough to create a something I would be excited about trying again.
Wandering around the market I spied a little basket of quince at the stall along side Brindisa and immediately bought up all they had, having unsuccessfully tried to find them back at home. Now that I’m home I plan on making some Quince Jelly along with some Membrillo, and if I bought enough I will poach what’s left, definitely a busy weekend (that’s on top of the crumpets im thinking about too).
On the morning before I left to catch my train we decided to go for brunch somewhere, which we had actually never done. I am not sure why because I love brunch. I mean what’s not to love, pancakes, syrup, fruit – yes please, sausage, eggs, bacon – double yes. But where to go? The only place I was even vaguely aware of was Breakfast Club in Soho, so that’s exactly where we went and it was a great choice. You can tell the sort of vibe your getting as you see this sign on the way in. There is a very laid back feel to place and is full of kitschy quirks. It was busy but we didn’t have to wait, although as we were leaving there were a few groups waiting to be served. The service was prompt, we had our food in almost no time and it was exactly what we had been craving.
I was in the mood for pancakes so that’s exactly what I got, 4 large fluffy disks served with a good portion of maple syrup and greek yogurt along with a nice portion of berries. Simon went with the “All American”, which to be honest looked more “English Breakfast” with added pancakes than anything else. He thought it was wonderful, especially the bacon which was his favourite thing. We got fresh smoothies to go with our food, which were also good, very fresh and fruity, just the thing for a brunch like this. Its good value too, costing about £5 for my dish and £6 or so for the bigger option that Simon had. Definitely a good place for a simple filling and tasty breakfast or brunch.
I’l post about my other London restaurant visits on Friday, one Indian and one Mexican, with something a little sweet too.