LONDON EATERIES – Brew Cafe (Wimbledon): All day and through to the night breakfast to super experience, what these guys don’t do isn’t worth doing.
Having lived in Australia previously for a number of years i understand how important the breakfast/brunch is in the day to day lives of our antipodean cousins. However outside of the land down under, I can safely say I don’t think I’ve seen a better all day breakfast menu (amongst a vast amount of other things) than what I experienced at this small, but perfectly formed cafe tucked in amongst the bars, shops and bustle of the Wimbledon Championship on Wimbledon High Street.
I can safely say I don’t think I’ve seen a better all day breakfast menu (amongst a vast amount of other things) than what I experienced at this small, but perfectly formed cafe.
The Cafe prides itself on its extensive breakfast menu, and boy is it extensive! However, don’t be fooled as its much, much more than this. So we got there in the early stages of the Wimbledon Championships when I feared the place would be heaving. Fortunately by the time we arrived I think we’d managed to avoid the mass exodus from the village and were able to enjoy the Cafe and excellent service to the full. When we arrived we were given the opportunity to sit indoors or outside to enjoy the balmy summer evening. We decided indoors next to the part open kitchen and bar not wanting to take the risk with the unpredictable British weather. The cafe has a really bright, cheerful, informal ambiance typical of its antipodean roots. The Cafe had some Wimbledon themed desserts and specials to bring a little topical light-headedness to the proceedings, which we agreed were welcome nice touches fitting in with the casual easy atmosphere of the place. They even had tennis ball lamingtons providing a nod to both the location and the antipodean foundations of the brew cafe.
The cafe has a really bright, cheerful, informal ambiance typical of its antipodean roots.
We were presented with the menus by our host George the Operations Manager for the London based group (brew Cafes also exist in Battersea, New York, San Francisco and Melbourne), who passionately explained the background to the business and the ethos and vision of the Cafes. He spoke about how the pastry chef sometimes singlehandedly works through the night to get the cakes delivered due to the face that they provide a party service based on any of the cakes on offer in the cafe as well as a take away and in house service. You can’t buy that kind of passion. Being British however no matter HOW tempting the breakfast menus looked, and seriously they were tempting – more than half of the menu was breakfast focused, we opted for more traditional dinner fare. The reviews we’d read had reviewed the breakfast selection amply so thought we’d give the rest of the menu a go!
For the first course we ordered some polenta chips with aioli to share. They swiftly arrived and I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever had polenta chips as good in my LIFE. They were so crispy on the outside, not oily at all, with the centres biliously fluffy and lighter than air, it scarcely felt like we were eating only betrayed by the subtle flavour of the polenta and silky aioli coming through. An absolute triumph and a great way to start the proceedings. Suffice to say they didn’t last long…
The dinner menu isn’t as extensive as that for breakfast and lunch but it seems to be very carefully put together with a selection of salads, and gastropub type dishes sat alongside the breakfast and lunch dishes that are available all day too. We went for the ribeye and a curious sounding rubarb, fennel and goats cheese salad. Service with a smile again delivered the mains and we tucked in. The salad was fabulous. A well balanced mix between the sharpness of the rhubarb and goats cheese which was also creamy and offset well with the crunchy fennel. Great and good to see an innovative take on the usual round of Ceasers and Nicoises’. The ribeye suffered from not being of the best cut and was a little blue, but it had a lovely chargrilled flavour to it and was accompanied by some again lighter than air fries and presented well in a gastro pub style.
The salad was fabulous. A well balanced mix between the sharpness of the rhubarb and goats cheese which was also creamy and offset well with the crunchy fennel.
We couldn’t leave without experiencing the desserts that are so good that they have people ordering them for Weddings and the like, and of course the gelataria! We asked for their most popular dessert and George suggested the cheesecake. I have to say again phenomenal. So light and creamy – brilliantly executed on a crisp base. The gelato – well suffice to say they could give the Italians a good run for their money – flavoursome and creamy not just sweet and no cloying which is the failure of many a gelataria from my experience… brilliant. As we were eating George explained that they also sell their own granola and selected dishes as take away for those work weary folk too lazy to cook. Both brilliant touches we thought showing confidence in their produce and a desire to provide an all round service. If only more restaurants of this quality did the same – all day breakfast take away = yes please!
The experience, passion and care that has gone into providing something akin to a cafe, come restaurant, come gelataria come take away come deli was obvious throughout the dining experience and is a testament to great staffing and a strong ethos. As they say in tennis… LOVE!
Brew Cafe, Wimbledon Village, Northcote Road, Wimbledon
Heart London Magazine 5 • rating
Emma, Heart London Magazine