Words by Sareta Puri
Brunch is now the most defining meal of the day in many great local cafes, trumping anything else on offer with a glamorous hybrid of all the best things on the menu. When you need that mid-morning food fix, with sizeable portions of this and that and a robust brew to wash it all down with, there’s plenty of cafes in Lewisham that deliver the brunch to set you straight for the rest of the day. Here’s 6 tried and tested brunch spots around the borough that offer a great and varied selection of tasty delights...
1. Aga's Little Deli
Aga's Little Deli is well known for her fantastic range of breads, cheeses and wines as well as being one of Forest Hill’s top spots for a casual bite to eat. With several daily specials complementing the regular menu of sandwiches, there's something to tantalise all taste buds. My favourite is the hummus, guacamole, grilled aubergine and olives sandwich on chunky sourdough, with side salad and chutney or pickle of the moment (most recently I sampled the delightful orange and fennel). This is more of a doorstop than a sandwich!
One of their biggest hits is the Bermondsey Frier - an open topped sandwich made with the locally sourced cheese of the same name. The rich salty cheese is complemented perfectly by the sweet spicy chilli jam and the crisp grilled aubergine - an ideal meal to soak up any excesses from the weekend! With coffee and cake also on offer, as well as regular food and drink nights including raclette evenings and wine tastings, you can easily see why Aga’s is so popular.
You can also get 10% off purchases over £10 at Aga's Little Deli with your South London Club Card
2. The Greenhouse Deptford
Despite being fairly new on the local café scene, The Greenhouse Deptford is already loved by locals. After being informed that this was home to the borough’s best vegan breakfast I thought it only right to test this out on behalf of the people of Lewisham. An inventive mix of roasted vegetables, salad, avocado, bread, hummus and yachini (a Middle Eastern potato stew-like dish) awaits – it was so good I didn’t want it to end!
Who needs eggs and bacons?! But if those are your things, don't despair as the meat breakfast offers up all the usual suspects, but with the same avocado, salad and yachini of the vegan meal. Or there's the fish option with salmon and scrambled eggs and the veggie dish with halloumi and eggs.
Alternatively, you opt go for a sandwich – humongous wedges of delicious sourdough bread packed with your chosen toppings. The smoothies alone are worth a visit - opt for 'The Remedy' if it's been a heavy weekend or 'The Greenhouse' if you want a powerful boost of energy and green goodness.
You can also get 10% off at The Greenhouse Deptford with your South London Club Card
3. Arlo & Moe
With branches in Crofton Park and Hither Green, this is a firm favourite of Lewisham’s weekend brunch-goers. The menu is fairly simple - breakfasts, sandwiches, "sexy toasts", soup and a couple of dishes on the day. Offerings include trendy smashed avocado and feta on toast or eggs with any range of accompaniments, from salmon to chorizo, a classic range of porridge options plus indulgent sourdough French toast with syrup, cream and fruit.
I was instantly pulled in by the Lebanese braised beans, temptingly displayed on the counter. This expertly flavoured blend of beans is a creative dish that, served with 3 chunks of sourdough bread, will easily set you up for the rest of the weekend. Half portions or simple sandwiches are also available for children making this a great option for families.
You can also get 10% off the 'sexy toast menu' at Arlo & Moe with your South London Club Card
4. Home & Kids
Situated halfway between Lee and Blackheath this fairly recently opened café and shop offers a light and airy space for families and locals to enjoy breakfast and lunch. One of the more affordable cafés in the borough, you can get a range of breakfasts on toast: simple butter and jam; baked beans; or, of course the fruit of the moment, avocado, as well as porridge, a selection of croissants and pastries or a good old toasted sandwich. The avocado on toast differs from the usual smashed offering and comes with herby oil-drizzled sundried tomatoes and rocket, making it a mouthwatering and satisfying brunch, whilst the beans on toast is a simple yet reliable option.
They also do smoothies including peanut butter, banana, almond milk and chia seed – that alone could power you through until Monday. Be sure to browse the shop downstairs as it’s a great place to pick up gifts or to treat yourself. The café also hosts creative events for kids, as well as supperclubs, making it an all round brilliant venue in the borough.
You can also get 10% off purchases over £10 at Home & Kids with your South London Club Card
5. The Archie Parker
In a neighbourhood bustling with cafes, The Archie Parker has proved its worth since opening in 2014. With a regularly changing menu you can enjoy anything from crumpets to toasties for breakfast. But the jewel in their weekend crown is undoubtedly the Eggs Royale and Eggs Benedict – poached eggs served either topped with bacon or salmon and lashings of Hollandaise sauce.
If you’re after something a bit more indulgent then don’t even try to resist the pastries, croissants and cakes on offer, tempting you from the counter. Have a seat in the window, relax over your breakfast, watch Forest Hill go by, and if you’re lucky, Archie (the dog who the café is named after) himself might even be around to say hello! Now that’s what I call a Saturday well spent...
You can also get 10% off at Archie Parker with your South London Club Card
6. Out of the Brew
A relative infant in the New Cross café scene, but with it’s offerings of food, coffee, beer and cocktails it’s clearly going to go far. On Saturdays you can enjoy their signature huevos rancheros – a Mexican breakfast dish of eggs baked in a tomato and pepper stew (add chorizo for an extra pound) washed down with a Bloody Mary.
It could well be one of the prettiest breakfasts in the borough, served with a topping of pretty flowers - quite possibly from the expansive garden out the back (which owner Mel has grand plans for developing – watch this space for al fresco cocktails and street food style grub). You can also opt for traditional sausage or bacon rolls on a Saturday and if there’s spinach and ricotta rolls and salads still going, those are a brilliant vegetarian option. The coffee is sourced from Black Sheep Coffee Company and they get all their bread from organic bakery Flour Power City, just up the road in Bermondsey – all part of a drive to be as sustainable as possible which adds even more kudos to this glowing local enterprise.
You can also get 10% off purchases over £10 at Out of the Brew with your South London Club Card