Perfectly polished people populate Granger & Co., Ozzie c’leb chef,Bill Granger’s perfectly polished resto – his first in London. Chichi Notting Hillybillies and their offspring love the promise of their very own version of Tom’s Kitchen (eat your heart out South Ken), so it should come as no surprise that the queue winds round the block during the weekend brunch hours. If you can stand the wait, you have unbelievably light and fluffy scrambled eggs, irresistible ricotta hotcakes and a bar piled high with good-looking baked goods to look forward to. On balance, we like to think it’s worth it. Dinner is a slightly different proposition, with a confusing menu that takes fusion to new heights (fish curry next to parmesan crumbed schnitzel, really?). There’s still a great vibe though and for those who don’t want to schlep west there’s now a branch in Clerkenwell too (and they take bookings!).
Gloriously white and fresh, the decor in this charming Antipodean Clerkenwell restaurant sings of summer all year round. The menu, too, is bright and zesty summer days. In fact a trip to Modern Pantry is a bit like a summer mini break, without leaving rainy London. The little square outside makes for a lovely setting on those rare days of British heat as well. A real fusion of world cooking, there are clearly influences from East to West on this menu, and they taste good. The staff are friendly and very smiley, the service is relaxed without being lazy and the place is pretty buzzy round the clock. Brunch is certainly the most popular meal (make sure to book on the weekends) and jugs of Bloody Mary are enough to pull anyone through a weekend hangover. Word of warning, choose carefully because you’re sure to have food envy when you see all the dishes coming out that kitchen.
From the décor to the service, this New Zealand coffee-shop-cum-all-day-café/resto oozes laidback shabby-chic charm. Don’t be fooled though, these folks sure know what they’re doing – and I’m not just talking about the brew, the food’s beaut too. Dishes like pickled mackerel with corn and avocado and smoked eel with a curry powder mayo earns Caravan its place among the other foodie havens dotted along Exmouth market. The menu is split into small and large plates, but why go for one big thing when you can have lots of little ones. Bypass the bigs and order as many littles as your belly can take. Come for brunch, lunch or snacks but don’t leave without sampling the coffee – the best Exmouth market has to offer.
It is a truth universally acknowledged: the antipodeans know how to do brunch. How else to explain the top-notch Aussie and Kiwi eateries that dominate the London mid-morning dining scene. Providores is one of the more established of the set, with a bustling weekend brunch that masterfully spans the full gamut of menu must-haves from Turkish eggs to banana and verjus French toast with streaky bacon. Don’t be put off by the queue, it’s shorter than it looks and the quirky fusion fare is well worth the wait. The place isn’t a bad shout for lunch and dinner too, especially as that gives you a good excuse to sample all the New Zealand wines sitting in the cellar just begging to be drunk. Try your luck in the bustling downstairs Tapa room to chow down on sharing plates or book a table in the more sedate upstairs dining room for a calmer experience.
The debut offering from New Zealand roasters, Ozone, is the part of the wave of Ozzie and Kiwi coffee shops revolutionizing London’s caffeine scene. Just off Old Street roundabout, this buzzy coffee-house-cum-roastery is fast becoming a firm fave with the Shoreditch set for its superior cups of Joe and excellent brunch offerings. Try a generous slice of their fancy French toast, flavoured with orange and cardamom and served with rose honey, mascarpone and berries, or go savoury with eggs done all kinds of ways. Done-up in the de rigueur, stripped-back warehouse style eponymous with east London eateries, the large space houses a roastery in the basement as well as a choice of booths or bar stools for customers. Weight-watchers be warned, the delectable-looking cake selection is nearly impossible to resist.
This cute, cult, Ozzie-chic cafe keeps the locals coming back for its stylish comfort food. It’s particularly popular for brunch, when the queue snakes round the corner. If it’s open, grab a snack from the ‘out’ café next door to keep you going while you wait. Wicked french toast dripping with syrup and topped with bananas and bacon definitely makes the wait worthwhile. Their spin on Turkish eggs, served with whipped feta and chickpeas is also worth a try, as is their spin on the humble bacon sarnie. Leave room for some of the irrisistable sugary treats from down-under if you can. It’s not every London café that offers gorgeous white chocolate blondies and dangerously addictive crack cake.