If you don’t live south of the river, you’ll definitely need some recommendations if you heading there for brunch. Here are some great options worth checking out!
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Situated just outside of the hectic hub of Rye Lane, Rosie’s is a quintessentially South London cafe. The original Rosie’s was opened in Brixton 12 years ago by Rosie Lovell, writer of the adorably named cookbook Spooning With Rosie. It was an institution in Brixton Market and only closed last year when they grew into this larger space in Peckham.
I visited around 1pm on a Saturday and the cafe was thankfully not rammed (which is what I usually expect for weekend brunch in London). My friend Clare and I sat at one of the small tables that line the entrance with the counter. The vibe was very relaxed and no one seemed bothered by the volume or highly personal/political nature of our conversation, thankfully (what can you expect when you put an Australian and a Northerner together?).
The menu was very simple but with some great options. Without a gluten-free toast option, I went for the large salad selection. It was much healthier than my usual preference for brunch but it did leave me feeling smugly wholesome afterwards, which was an unexpected bonus. With a big dollop of hummus and a selection of 3 salads plus baby spinach, I was still munching away long after Clare had finished. She went for the French Toast with Poached Pears: the best sounding option on the menu that day, although everything did sound pretty lush.
With good coffee, ample space and staff who were in no rush to get rid of you, this was a great lazy weekend option. I could easily sit here with a copy of the weekend papers and order a string of coffees without wanting to leave. Highly recommended.
With its flea market furniture and low-key decor, Maloko isn’t the kind of place I would normally make a beeline for at breakfast. However, my friend Alex was very keen to show me his fave budget eatery in Camberwell when I visited (on a different Saturday morning). It turned out to be the perfect breakfast spot for me as this creperie serves a primarily savoury menu, which means buckwheat flour (which gluten-free goodness). Hurrah!
I went for the mega Maloko Special as it came highly recommended by Alex. It didn’t disappoint: stuffed with sweet potato, asparagus, aubergine and cheese, I found it super tasty. Wrapped in its crispy shell with a side salad, it was again another relatively healthy weekend brunch for me! I’m sensing a South London trend. There was a selection of pressed juices for the purse-friendly price of £2.50, bringing my nourishing brunch to under £9. Practically unheard of in London! The staff were also very lovely and the small space was busy with hungry locals. We realised after leaving that the staff must have undercharged us, which means I’ll be heading back soon to remedy this band eat there again.
Other brunch spots that come highly recommended:
Pedler There was some fanfare when Pedler opened early last year: Peckham didn’t yet have many mid-range restaurants that you could rely on for brunch, dinner, cocktails and everything in between. New establishments like this do show how the area is beginning to change (be it gentrification or ‘vanillafication’ as I heard used the other day) but you can’t deny Pedler’s popularity. It was rammed with brunchers when I walked past there recently – and it didn’t look like the kind of place that would let you queue so I recommend booking well in advance if you’re planning a visit.
(Image courtesy of Pedler)
They’re only open for brunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with a menu that features all the key ingredients you’d expect: smashed avocado, rose harissa and shakshuka (not all in the same dish). Many of the dishes are vegetarian or vegan and they are apparently quite good at catering for gluten-free diners (the Frizzle Chicken on their evening menu gets rave reviews from many intolerant reviewers). If you have a special brunch occasion to celebrate south of the river, then this is the place to book.
Lido Cafe Another quite stylish place to start the day is the Lido Cafe in Brockwell Park. For those not from the UK, a lido is British for a public outdoor swimming pool – but don’t expect the usual tin shed/concrete bunker look of your usual pool snack shop. This is a very stylish affair and one that comes highly recommended by my local friend Phoebe, who says it "does hearty brunches perfect for a post-swim brunch".
(Image courtesy of the Lido Cafe)
This place is definitely on my next summer wishlist as their weekend brunch menu features a number of gluten-free items, including toast. They also do a great deal where you can get Eggs Florentine/Royale/Benedict and a glass of prosecco for £12, making it a great group brunch spot.
No.67 This was another place my friend Alex wanted to take me for brunch – but it was suitably rammed on a Saturday morning. No. 67 have a 90-minute rule during peak times, so definitely not somewhere to head for a long, lazy weekend brunch. But it’s popular for a reason: this cute cafe has a very strong brunch menu, including the divine sounding "Waffles with poached pear, crème fraiche, chocolate sauce & walnuts" which just makes me drool just thinking about it.
(Image courtesy of No.67)
The cafe is part of the South London Gallery, which means you can take a stroll through their current exhibition after your meal – or perhaps while you wait for a table.
Have a recommendation for brunch in South London? Comment below and share the love!