A late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch (or sometimes as well as, in the case of The Little London Foodie)“She outdid herself by devouring a breakfast, munching on a brunch and then tucking into a lunch, in a way that had to be seen to be believed, and which filled her with a great sense of pride and achievement.”
Just kidding. I do not eat all three of those meals… Very often.
I don’t think I’m being too bold when I say that I’m not the only Londoner who goes weak at the knees at the suggestion of a brunch date, and nothing gets me up faster on a Saturday morning than the idea of perfectly poached eggs teamed with creamy, smooth coffee. Plus, the fact that pancakes and waffles become a perfectly acceptable mid-morning snack.
A few weekends ago, I opted to venture outside of my little North neighbourhood to… *drum roll* …Somewhere just slightly further North. Adventure is my middle name.
My travels took me on a 40 minute bus ride to the insanely beautiful and jealousy inducing Muswell Hill. I just want to live here, sipping on almond lattes and strolling the aisles of Planet Organic to pick up my fizzy Kombucha for the rest of my days. Alas, for now it is a pipe dream. However, what I can do is stroll into the gorgeous and welcoming Bob’s Cafe and pretend I’m a local.
Firstly, this photo was captured in the extremely rare moment that there isn’t a queue out the door. This cafe is fab and everyone in Muswell Hill knows it, so make sure you arrive early(ish). Come on, it’s still a Saturday.
As soon as you walk through the quaint swinging door, you’ll know thay you’ve wandered into a perfect little brunch haven. There are pastel coloured plant pots swinging from the ceiling, warm lamps for ultimate cosiness and cute little booths for snuggling into.
The manager, Bob (of course), greets you with a smile, a broad South African accent and a heartwarmingly positive attitude. At this point, I could tell that this place was just my cup of tea. Or, rather, coffee. I must start by telling you how impressed I was by the almond latte. I’m no coffee expert but this was smooth, sweet without adding a tonne of sugar and the foam had a perfect aftertaste.
So, something happened and Chris and I accidentally ordered three mains to share, four coffees, two juices and dessert on top. Here’s the situation we had on our hands:
Now, let’s get stuck into the nitty gritty.
First up, we opted for the Red Shakshouka – A slow roasted tomato & pepper stew with grated feta, baked free-range eggs, chopped parsley and accompanied by toasted dark sourdough bread. I really find it quite hard to go past a Shakshouka when I see one on a brunch menu and this one didn’t disappoint.
This dish had that unmistakably comforting taste of a fresh, homemade tomato salsa soup, complete with big juicy chunks of tomatoes. I liked that there was variety in the eggs too. One was medium cooked so that it had a bit of a bite and the almost powdery egg like texture surrounded your tongue when you bit into it. The other was soft boiled and the yolk burst when cut and oozed into the flavours of the tomato. The bread perfectly soaked up all of the juices and gave it some crunch, whilst the feta added a creaminess to the dish. Lovely! I was crazy about this dish and voted it my favourite of the entire meal.
As for Chris’ favourite, Bob’s Sunshine Brunch stole his heart. The dish came with two free range eggs, avocado, hummus, roasted vine tomatoes, feta and toasted dark sourdough. Simple ingredients used in just the right way. I’d never combined avocado and hummus before but I know I’m stealing this little tip for future homemade brunches! The creaminess of both ingredients means that they simply melt in your mouth. I was also a big fan of the contrast of the crunchy bread against the tang of the crumbly feta. Chris’ top tip: Add tabasco for even more flavour!
You may have noticed the smoothies creeping into the back of the picture. We went for one of each: ‘Bob’s Rise’ with strawberry, banana and orange, and ‘Green Day’ with spinach, apple, lemon, kale and coconut water. The Green Day’s fresh, healthy ingredients and earthy taste make it an ideal hangover juice! In Chris’ words: “It tastes like it’s doing me good”. The Bob’s Rise was sweet and delightfully tasteful. I’m a sucker for a sweet smoothie and this one almost reminded me of bubblegum. In fact, it paired perfectly with our next dish…
PANCAKES! In hindsight, this is the part where the greed kicked in. Please don’t think that the mains are not sufficient sizes based on the volume of food that we put away. They’re more than enough for two humans. Chris and I just happen to both lack that key life skill which some people possess where they can look at a menu and only order the amount they need, rather than every single dish they want. #WhyAmILikeDiss
Cue the Buttermilk Stacked Pancakes topped with blueberry compote & banana. Think thick, soft, fluffy pancakes which we doused in sweet maple syrup (It would be rude not to, right?) and devoured quicker than anyone on their third course should. The blueberry compote is sweet, sticky and exactly what you want on top of a perfect stack. These are ideal for sharing between two as a dessert.
Or, like us, you could order another dessert… No regrets! This Pear, Blueberry & Hazelnut Crumble with vanilla ice cream was just beautiful. It had so many different flavours and textures: Crunchy, chewy, warm, sticky. There were warm apple chunks, hints of cinnamon and a sweet caramel flavour. It’s always a good sign when you’re absolutely stuffed but can’t stop eating. An absolute winner for winter!
So, what are my thoughts? My facial expressions in the above photo just about sum it up.
Bob’s Cafe does everything right. Not only is it located in a beautiful area, it is one of the only independent cafes in Muswell Hill (part of the reason for the popularity level), the atmosphere is amazing, the decor is to die for, the food is fantastic, the staff are welcoming, friendly & genuine and it’s the kind of place you could happily sit all day, without a care in the world.
The Little London Foodie recommends:
– Almond Latte
– Bob’s Rise Smoothie
– Bob’s Sunshine Brunch
– Buttermilk Stacked Pancakes
– Pear, Blueberry & Hazelnut Crumble
(For those eagle-eyed viewers, yes, I recommend pretty much everything we ate!)