I love going out for brunch, particularly on Saturdays: it's the ultimate treat. Like a reward that awaits you at the end of a hellish week, something about indulging in huevos rancheros or French toast made with brioche topped with spiced orange compote makes brunch absolutely decadent. In fact, I think that going out for brunch is more of a treat than eating out for dinner. Dinner out feels normal (even though it shouldn't be regarded as such), but brunch feels special.
But let's be honest: brunch in London (and elsewhere) is a total ripoff. Serve scrambled eggs and smoked salmon at 8:00 a.m. and it's £6.95. Serve it between the hours of 10:30-12:00 and it suddenly seems to justify a price tag of £10.95 and upwards. A juice that comes out of a carton and is literally emptied into a glass in front of you can easily command a fee of £4.95 (yes, that happened to me). To add insult to injury, London mostly consists of overpriced, trendy establishments passing themselves off as "American diners" resulting in mediocre food that I, frankly, could have made better at home (see trendsters' favorite, The Breakfast Club - to this day, I have no idea why people wait in line for hours to eat the stodgy, over-floured pancakes at that place).
Despite saying all this, I think I've finally found my favorite place to brunch in London (after five years of living here), and it's Reilly Rocket in De Beauvoir Town, Dalston.
I love this place. Regardless of the fact that it's practically on my doorstep, Reilly Rocket serves up a killer breakfast and good, strong coffee created by their self-described "hyper-precise" baristas. Does that scare you? It shouldn't. Staff is super friendly and the cozy environment means you can easily dine alone with a newspaper or chat the morning away with a brunch buddy.
This morning, I had toasted sourdough (the menu cites "cherry sourdough", but they ran out of that, so we just had plain sourdough) with "debauched cinnamon butter" (don't you just love that description?) and fresh berries accompanied by a peach blossom tea, since I'm trying to kick the caffeine habit:
It was really as good as it looks: the sweet, cinnamon butter oozing into crunchy sourdough with the tart raspberries and blueberries was better than any spread I've ever had, rivalling Ottolenghi's banana jam which I previously blogged about here. Truly a pleasure to have.
Next, John and I shared the sweet potato fritters with spicy chorizo, cucumber yogurt, poached eggs and rocket & cucumber salad. Whew!
That squeeze of lime adds a real kick and zings through the spiciness of the chorizo, while the cooling yogurt tastes divine when mashed into the potato fritters. A total foodgasm.
Our bill? £7 a head, including coffee and my tea.
I wasn't just surprised by all of this; I was actually kind of shocked. How could this much deliciousness be hiding in this humble, unassuming motorcycle cafe? I don't think it'll be long until the rest of London wakes up to the idiocy of waiting in line for overpriced "American" food and discovers the joys of little cafes like this one. Soon, I'll have to start making reservations at Reilly Rocket, instead of being able to roll out of bed and drop in.
Until then, I'll use everyone else's ignorance to my advantage and continue to enjoy lovely brunches at this stellar establishment.