I love sourcing breakfast on Sunday’s when I’ve found myself in London: it’s such a lovely place to take a wander and peak into windows, peer at menus and enjoy a leisurely meal with good company.
A couple of weeks ago my friend and I attended BST (for free no less – I got lucky and won some tickets at work!) to see Ellie Goulding – Taylor Swift was there too, but to be honest we were’t that fussed! Ellie all the way for us! The next morning (feeling surprisingly fresh for the amount of
cider, wine and prosecco adult beverages consumed), I used my trusty set of apps to seek out a place for breakfast/brunch: I felt like the scout in a hunter-gatherer party reporting back as we backed our bags! Cafe Phillies came up as a venue with good reviews, a decent menu selection and not horrendously far away.
The cafe was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Every other cafe we passed was quiet, if open at all – not all that worrying for a Sunday morning. However, I was also once told to never dine in either an empty restaurant, or a restaurant that has staff outside actively trying to get footfall in off the street. I try and stick to those rules when trying out new places! So, when we arrived at Cafe Phillies and found it pleasantly full I gave myself a mental pat on the back – test one was passed. There were only a few spare tables, and we squeezed in to a small window table for two quite nicely.
The menu is quite predictable for the area – the usual ‘full english’ and porridge options, plus a plethora of options involving eggs and salmon, which is what had attracted me to the menu. Love me some smoked salmon in the morning! The prices are, for my Midlands-mind, quite high though! We chose to start with a black coffee and mint tea while we perused the menu, and were delighted with the tea arrived because how cute is this pot!
In the end, my friend chose the Benedict Mama Mia (with ham, salmon and spinach). I went for the scrambled eggs, salmon & avocado on sourdough, minus the sourdough since I was reducing my gluten in take. Alas, here’s where our perfect brunch started to become… imperfect.
Now, re- the gluten. I was reducing my gluten to see if it helped with my bad stomach and also gearing up to the Whole 30, so asked the waitress if, perhaps instead of the toast, could I please have a bit of fruit instead? Some berries would be perfect. She assured me that would be fine and off she popped to the kitchen to place our order.
Breakfast arrived in good time (although admittedly, I was chatting so much I didn’t take note of the time). It was nicely plated and looked delicious. My scrambled eggs were lovely and not too dry – clearly freshly cooked. The avocado was fresh and the salmon plentiful. The toast was MIA as requested but… so was my fruit. And the described ‘lemon wedge’… unless it was a macro lemon wedge, perhaps? Very London.
My friend’s dish arrived and we were a little perplexed. Ham? Where’s the ham? We wondered. A little Alice-in-Wonderland-esque. We looked under the spinach and under the eggs but alas, no ham. We pulled over the waitress in the now fully-packed cafe.
“There’s no ham?”
“Is there supposed to be?”
“Yes, I ordered the Mama Mia with Spinach, salmon and ham.”
“Ah, I’ll fetch it for you. Is it alright on a separate plate?”
Sure enough, a small side plate with some cared ham slices arrived a few minutes later (I didn’t take a photo because it wasn’t my food and felt a bit weird). I forgot my missing berries and lemon wedge, whilst amusedly watching them try to balance the extra dish on the cute but tiny table.
Now, if this was a Weatherspoons I wouldn’t of minded – but at over £10, my friends breakfast should of come out perfect. And when it was incorrect I really don’t think a side dish of ham should be bought out for something supposed to be served Benedict style and under the lovely poached egg yolks!
And still, no berries. I was sad. I’d of been happy with a few slices of banana and apple, to be honest. If I request something to be removed and have confirmed a substitution will be ok, I kinda expect to receive said substation!
However, they were very busy and I was more interested in eating what had arrived and talking to my friend, whom I don’t get to see nearly enough, so I kept my inner-critic quiet. We ate slowly and stayed for some time after eating to finish our drinks. The plates weren’t cleared for a very long time, which bugged me. Who likes to look at dirty plates for ages? They weren’t slow with the bill though!
A bit on the expensive side – but I supposed for a Cafe in Kensington, not all that bad. For two breakfasts and two hot drinks our bill came to £29.50. I’ve spent less on dinner! In fact, I think I did the following week at Flat Iron, which I’ll post the review for shortly. For that price, as I’ve said, I want perfect orders – I’m picky like that. All that aside, a lovely brunch and possibly suffering as a victim of their own success though. I would happily return and give them a second chance, but will be more assertive if (or pessimistically, when) they bring out an imperfect order.