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Brinner at brew
August 18, 2014
One could be forgiven for wandering past the new chain of brew – the “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) serving café run by Australian owner Jason Wells – only moments away from Wandsworth Town station. From the outside, its charm is understated and a quick peer through the window reveals the foreseeable shabby chic layout, complete with the inevitably trendy wooden country kitchen tables and exposed brick.
On venturing inside however, a couple of notably quirky elements pop out at you: the chair-sculpture chandelier, the cut glass bottle light fixtures, and the hanging buckets of lavender over the front window. The bar is beautifully constructed and laden with a diverse array of tempting cakes and pastries.
We were greeted and told to sit anywhere – the café isn’t exactly busy as it’s a drizzly Tuesday evening – and were then handed an assortment of menus before being left to it.
The choices are wonderfully varied, ranging from the all day “brinner” options – which include everything from blueberry pancakes, caramalised banana, crème fraîche & maple syrup to Turkish pide melt with ham, gruyere, vine tomatoes, poached eggs & pesto – to burgers, sweetcorn fritters with avocado, tomato jam & lime aioli, and mushroom, chard & chilli risotto.
We went for the scallops with polenta & green vegetables, which were the daily special, and the cod & crab fishcakes with spinach, poached egg and hollandaise. Both arrived beautifully presented; the freshness and balance of ingredients and tastes were delicate yet flavoursome. However, while the fishcake was of a decent size, there were only three scallops – very little for a main, especially when the price tag was £18. Sides were definitely called for and we ordered French fries with aioli (which ended up coming with ketchup) and some very tasty treacle-cured bacon. These sated our appetites a bit and the pleasant wines on offer certainly did their part to make the main course enjoyable.
We still had room for dessert and ventured over to the counter to salivate over the choices on display. The flourless chocolate cake was exquisite and the helpful staff suggested warming it up so that centre melted. All the cakes had been made in their Wimbledon branch and matched perfectly with the Allpress coffee.
While we were not entirely convinced by “brinner” which we watched the other customers consume, we did feel that brew was the perfect little spot for a (slightly expensive but very comforting) hot drink and dessert. As we sat back and relaxed in the small yet cosy café with our coffee and cake whilst the rain poured down outside, all we could think that was missing was a blanket to snuggle up in to make us feel truly at home.
Vicky Ilankovan – Lifestyle Editor