Brunch at Strut & Cluck

If you’re anything like me, your weekday breakfast often consists of eggs or avos – so by the time the weekend rolls around, I’m in the mood for something different. That’s where Strut & Cluck step in. Originally just specialising in dishes featuring the turkey, they’ve branched out to a menu which really showcases Eastern Mediterranean flavours, which they’re known and loved for.

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You’ll find Struct & Cluck on a prime spot on Commerical Street, literally around the corner from Shoreditch High Street overground station. It’s got a glass-fronted exterior which looks into a brightly lit room. It’s filled with rustic wood tables, exposed light bulbs and hanging plants. The now-classic East London look and definitely something I’d love for my own flat.

I went post-gym class at the Adidas Studio and met up with my sister. She ordered the hand-pulled turkey shawarma, which is topped with a fried egg and served with dates, pine nuts, tahini on top of a pita.

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I went for the classic shakshuka, two eggs cooked in a pan with tomatoes, peppers, onions, chilli and chorizo, served with a warm pita for scooping. My eggs, unfortunately, were served undercooked, but the staff took the dish away no problem and gave me a free coffee as an apology.

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It’s a calm little oasis in the heart of Shoreditch – a perfect spot to rest your legs and refuel after a morning of touring East London.

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Strut & Cluck, 151 Commercial St, London E1 6BJ

*Main photo courtesy of Strut & Cluck

 

 

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Breakfast in Bread at The Barge House

If you’re looking for an Instagrammable Sunday brunch, then you’ll want to hit up The Barge House in East London. You’ll find it on the Regent’s Canal between Hoxton and Haggerston set in an old Victorian warehouse – all of which are now either places to grab a bite to eat, craft breweries or design studios. The place is decked out fairy lights which cover their floor-to-ceiling windows, with tables along the waterside and a minimalist dining room and an open-plan kitchen.

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Their Breakfast in Bread brunch menu is exactly what it says on the tin – a hollowed-out sourdough loaf packed full with traditional breakfast fare. There are a couple of options to choose from… the original is your standard full English complete with slow-roast tomatoes, oyster mushrooms, leeks, Cumberland sausage, spinach, bacon with an egg. Or you can grab yourself a vegetarian version which comes with avocado, spinach and asparagus.

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Whilst there’s limited choice for veggies, and no vegan options, they do try to source all their produce as ethically as possible. All their eggs are free-range and their sourdough loaves are baked just around the corner at the Better Health Bakery – an artisan bakery who provide trainee placements for adults recovering from mental illness.

I opted for the smoked salmon bread bowl. It’s filled with spinach, leeks, smoked salmon, creme fraiche and topped with an egg and a sprinkle of cheese. It’s a food coma in waiting.

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The Barge House, 46a De Beauvoir Cres, London, N1 5RY

Main photo courtesy of The Barge House

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Green room cafe | Is it worth the wait?

There’s a cute little cafe in Stoke Newington which is merged with a flower shop, known as the Green room Cafe. It’s nestled on Church Street, and if you walk through the florists and head to the back, you’ll find the cafe. It’s got a beautiful outside space where you can bask in the sun and nibble on their cakes in amidst of the plants and flowers.

We were seated promptly (however that was the only thing that was done swiftly), as it takes ages for the staff here to bring you anything. There were only two people covering the entire restaurant which has about 30 tables – a recipe for a disaster.

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We should have picked up on the vibes of the other diners when we arrived – there was definitely an air of annoyance coming from most people and the majority of tables had stacks of dirty dishes piling up on the side.

The main waiter was rushing around telling everyone he would be over in 5 minutes, while seemingly doing nothing other than get himself into a flap. Whilst the other clutched the menu in between his claws and paced up and down the cafe, ‘Hello, can we please have one of those menus in your hands?” – nope, nothing.  And so we were left waiting for almost half an hour until we were finally brought some menus and a jug of tap water.

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Once we finally got our hands on the menu, I decided on a veggie breakfast of halloumi, kale squeak, homemade beans, tomato, mushroom, eggs and toast. My mum opted for the chorizo  shakshuka, which comes with two poached eggs in a tomato sauce and a side of sourdough.

It was then another mission to try and get them to take our order. The only real reason we stuck around was the beautiful setting – it’s kind of hard to stay angry when you’re surrounded by succulents and daffodils.

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Homemade baked beans are rare and these were good. But that’s about where it ends because I served just half of a mushroom. Just half. In what world is serving half a mushroom acceptable? The kale squeak was unseasoned and as there was no salt and pepper on the tables (shock), I couldn’t rectify it to suit my taste buds.

My mum’s shakshuka was good but the eggs were definitely overcooked. a big no no for me. Plus a parsley garnish would have made this dish a real treat and would have helped to amplified the flavour.

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Our brunch was turbulent, we were happy to leave and get out of their hair. I was glad that we had to pay at the till and we were served by the barista. The only process which wasn’t long winded is the one where they take your money. For two coffees, an orange juice and two meals came to £20 – not bad but it would have been nice to get some sort of compensation for the disaster of a breakfast we had just had.

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Green Room Cafe, 113 Stoke Newington Church Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0UD

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Bombay Breakfast at Dishoom

Where do you go when you’re bored of your local curry house and want something a bit special? In my quest to find the answer, and combine my love of brunch and curried food, I finally got around to trying Dishoom – and I’m honestly ashamed I’ve left it so long. It’s bloody brilliant.

My family and I decided to take my Dad for a boozy birthday brunch due to his love for all things spiced. The Dishoom in Kings Cross spans over three floors and pays homage to the bustling meeting points in India for families, friends and travellers alike in their Bombay-styled outpost. Complete with an oversized railway-station clock alongside other retro fittings and ageing sepia photographs.

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We kicked things off with the house chai and a couple of cocktails. Their chai is delicious – it’s rich, creamy and got a real spice kick (it’s also a total bargain and comes with endless refills).

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Moving onto the food, my parents both opted for the Keema Per Eedu which is a big bowl of spiced chicken keema and bits of chicken liver, topped with two fried eggs, sali crisps and served with pau buns (fluffy white bread rolls to you and I).

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I went from the Full Bombay, which comes with akuri (spicy scrambled eggs), grilled bacon, sausages, toast,grilled tomatoes and masala beans. It’s the perfect Bombay-inspired take on a classic British breakfast.

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Whilst everything is subtly spiced, my sister went for one of the more traditional dishes, the Bombay Omelette, complete with tomato, onion, coriander and chilli.

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Now, we weren’t willing to leave without trying one of their Bacon Naan Rolls, which they’ve earned such a name for themselves for. It’s a bacon butty, but not as we know it. The naan is wrapped around a couple of rashers of bacon, cream cheese, coriander and chilli jam. It was damn tasty.

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If you haven’t been to Dishoom already, then you definitely need to.

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Dishoom, Granary Square, 5 Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AB

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Brunch at Jones & Sons

Restaurant hide-and-seek is the game Scott and I played when we headed to Jones & Sons in Dalston last weekend. In late October they packed up shop and moved just around the corner to a much larger venue which is located off Gillett Square, and boasts a separate bar area as well as a private courtyard for alfresco dining.

It’s an unassuming little place and incredibly easy to walk past as it’s only sign post on the main road is just a small menu. However, the restaurant itself is beautiful and it plays homage to its old surroundings and home – it’s kept some of the industrial ex-warehouse features and the space is kept deliberately minimalist and is completely flooded with natural light.

When Scott and I arrived the restaurant was completely packed full of people taking full advantage of the bottomless brunch offered, but we still managed to grab two seats at the bar. The bar itself is made of marble (and is made for getting that perfect Instagram shot), however the stools sit far too low making it quite difficult to eat.

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Whilst Jones & Sons is known for the famous bottomless brunches, Scott and I decided to simply order from the menu. I was feeling a bit peek-ish from the following night so decided to kill my pounding head with a Bloody Mary – and boy, it did the trick. The drink was perfectly balanced, bright red and just the right thickness.

I went for the Eggs Royale – an English muffin, topped with smoked salmon, two poached eggs and lashings of hollandise sauce. Since a couple of failed attempts of a hollandise sauce at home I can really appreciate a good one, and at Jones & Sons theirs was the perfect consistency and not too tart from the vinegar and lemon.

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Scott opted for the Full English which came with all the trimmings – a fried egg, black pudding, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans and toast. Now it’s not that I’m a slow eater, I just don’t believe Scott breathes when he eats as the plate was demolished in seconds flat.

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Jones & Sons is definitely the place to come for a boozy brunch, but maybe not so perfect if you’re already nursing a hangover as it’s full of twenty-year-olds taking full advantage of the unlimited drinks.

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Jones & Sons, 2G, stamford works, 3 Gillett St, London N16 8JH

Brunch at Blend Harringay

When you want decent Turkish food in North London, you’ll head straight to Green Lanes. But brunch? It would be the last place I’d look – until I discovered Blend.

I look the look and feel of the place, think scandi-inspired with mismatched comfy chairs and whitewashed walls.  It’s bright and welcoming, and full of contemporary arts (just have a peek in the bathroom).

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On weekends it can be full of families and in one corner of the cafe you’ll find a cute little kids area, and in another corner you’ll find the creative-coffee lover types hunched over their laptops.

Whenever Scott and I go to Blend, we’re guilty of always ordering the same thing time and time again. For me, it’s the poached eggs with homemade hollandaise and asparagus. And from him, it’s a fry-up with espresso beans, chipolata sausages and a fried egg and it couldn’t be further away from your typical greasy spoons.

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I haven’t even mentioned the coffee which is strong and rich, and one of the main reasons we head to Blend on a Saturday morning.

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Blend, 587 Green Lanes, London N8 0RG

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Brunch at The Grain Store

I love it when old friends come to visit me in London as it provides me with the perfect excuse to visit new restaurants and The Grain Store is somewhere I’ve been planning to visit for a while now. It’s only a few minutes walk from Kings Cross Station and is located next to Caravan in Granary Square.

It’s got high ceilings and big open windows, with exposed industrial steel pips and bare brick walls which both compliments and contrasts the choice of furnishings. All my friends who have been have raved about it, so it had some big shoes to fill.

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I simply adore the fact London is moving away from American diner staples and is shifting towards healthier eateries and The Grain Store is a perfect example of this. It’s great to see so many vegetarian dishes on a menu that look inspired; and whilst it’s not solely a vegetarian restaurant you could easily eat there as a vegetarian or vegan and feel that you have plenty to choose from. The menu is rather large and with so many inventive dishes to choose from, we were left pondering a little longer than usual over what you have.

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In the end I opted for the Kimchi Omelette which is topped with Smoked Salmon and a dollop of Crème Fraîche. I’ve never had Kimchi before so was keen to try something new, it’s basically a Korean spiced pickled cabbage – I loved my flavours in my dish.

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If you like sweet things, there’s the toasted banana loaf, vanilla ricotta, warm passion fruit sauce.

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I already can’t wait to go back for dinner and try their surprise menu which is only £39 per person for six dishes!

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The Grain Store, Granary Square, 1-3 Stable St, London N1C 4AB

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