Saturday we knew would be a heavy evening. So we knew that Saturday breakfast had to be equally tough to set us up for a long day and an even longer night.
This left us with only one option: Breads Etcetera, on Clapham High Street.
It's a fun little concept. Basically, it's all about the bread – and, boy, do they know how to bake it. Literally tonnes of that stuff must pass through their ovens every week, as the cool kids of Clapham and its environs descend upon the place every weekend for brunch. The guys who set it up started life as bakers – one of the owners popped in whilst we were there and we had a little chat – and has over 12 years' experience of baking. Their range is incredible – from plain old sourdough (about which nothing is plain, this is some of the best I've had) to walnut and rosemary breads to dark, sticky Norwegian rye.
Each table comes adorned with its own Dualit toaster and they specialise in what they call 'DIY Toast. The basic idea is you head up to the basket of bread, carve off great slaps of bread, and toast at your table. It's those little thoughts and ideas that can make somewhere really different and interesting, something that Breads Etcetera can proudly boast to be.
It's unlimited, so you can stuff yourself until you pop, which I basically did.
GrubsterGirl wasted no time getting stuck in.
But if the bread is the star of the show, the supporting cast are pretty Oscar-worthy too. All their supplies of meat and eggs and veggies taste and feel proper fresh, and high quality. These are no frozen, 15% pork, budget bangers; these are proper, hearty Cumberland sausages, full of yum.
They also do an exciting array of breakfasts – not just full English brekkies, but carefully thought out and well executed dishes that are meals in their own right.
GrubsterGirl launched into the wild mushrooms, which basically is a mound of wild mushrooms on toast, accompanied with (in this instance) a sausage. It's more normal sides are bacon, mackerel terrine or chicken liver pâté, the latter of which I have tried and (hot-damn!) it is good. I know what you're thinking: chicken liver for breakfast? Don't knock it 'til you tried it, folks, is all I'll say.
I went for the 'Cowboy Brekkie', with the charming slice of sourdough with a fried egg inside. There's something wonderfully childish not just about the idea but about its execution. It also came with a couple of rashers of bacon (what breakfast / brunch would be complete without it?) and homemade baked beans. A word on the beans: they're incredible. Rich, gooey, bloomin' spicy, and with at least a whole sausage diced up in there for good measure.
What's more, even the walk-on parts fare well. Proper juices and coffee that even an Italian barista could be proud of.
All in all, a proper, filling brunch – and one of the best in Clapham, to boot. Now for a lie down. I'll leave you with a picture of the best egg holder I've ever seen.
You'd need a lot of soldiers for that.
- GrubsterBoy -
PS: This place is really the only restaurant that I can think of that genuinely suffers from multiple personality disorder. No, seriously, it can’t seem to make its mind up – it seemed to start out as Breads Etcetera but now the menus are covered with references to 'The Ferm'. In my view, 'Breads Etcetera' is a great name for a place that sells bread primarily and a lot of other stuff to fill you up kind of on the side. Whereas 'The Ferm' means… well, not a lot to me, to be honest. I've gone with Breads Etcetera as everyone seems to know it by that name.
PPS: Sadly, Breads Etcetera has almost no online presence whatsoever, which doesn’t help one track it down. Still, you can't really miss it once you get to Clapham High Street: just look for the place with a 20 minute queue coming out of it… Still, totally worth it.