Flotsam & Jetsam Cafe

4 Bellevue Parade, Wandsworth SW17 7EQ

Service: 3.5
Food: 4
Food Price: £15-20

In my opinion, this is The brunch place in Wandsworth Common – probably in Balham as well. Very cosy, with books, wooden tables and fresh cakes, Flotsam & Jetsam is that unpretentious place that manages to pull you out of bed on a Sunday morning.
I say without denying a bit of selfishness: I find Flotsam & Jetsam way more relaxed and ethnically diversified compared to its rivals in Balham, such as Milk or Brickwood. And of course I also enjoy their food.

Eggs Royale by Damiano Tescaro on 500px.com

 Eggs Royale, photo courtesy of Damiano Tescaro https://500px.com/coldancientbreeze

The menu is rich but not overwhelming with some musts of the English breakfast such as eggs royale, some interesting varianti such as a chorizo scramble – don’t deny the English their beloved chorizo! – and off course lighter and healthier options among which I found their cornbread an absolute delight.

I have yet to taste something here that I do not like. Depending on what you crave for, there are few highlights as per my experience.

Eggs Royale is probably one of my favourites here. Though not a novelty, the serving is so abundant in smoked salmon that I cannot see how someone might not be happy with it. I could almost call the salmon slices…steaks! What a triumph! I always enjoy this dish that I usually accompany with a side of avocado – equally generous.

Chorizo toast with Eggs by Damiano Tescaro on 500px.com

Chorizo scramble, photo courtesy of Damiano Tescaro https://500px.com/coldancientbreeze

The chorizo scramble is served on a slice of focaccia. The whole is presented very neatly and packs a lot of flavours. Definitely a big sprint start for the morning or the weekend.
Another little gem in my opinion is their massive club sandwich, served open and that you have to challenge with fork and knife. Fresh, bountiful and traditional, this is a great option if you are looking for cosy, comfort food on a lazy weekend.

Everything about the place makes you want to stay longer. It can get busy, with dogs and baggies especially, but it always remains pleasant.

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5cc or “Harrild and Sons Cocktail Bar”

26 Farringdon Street, London EC4A 4AB

Service: 4/5
Food/drinks: 4/5
Food Price: £15-20
Drinks Price: £5-10

On the border between the City and the West End, there is a little place where you will be able to feel like …a Londoner.
People have mixed feelings about the City, you either hate or love it and I belong to the latter group. It is busy, bustling, loud and smoky. But, if you are able to look beyond the white collars, you will see London in all its mighty power, in its contradictions, elegance, sadness and stubbornness. The beauty of St. Paul’s, the sober, aged – almost assertive – elegance of the Royal Exchange echo against the exaggeration of the Shard and Bank.
I like to think that those older structures are there to remind us of who we had been and – in some way – who we will always be…or risk to be again.

After you made your neck ache by turning around to admire all the old and new buildings of the City, you can finally have a rest at Harrild and Sons. Do not get astray by the loud and smelly pub on the ground floor. When I went there the first time, my friend walked me downstairs where a cosy and elegant cocktail bar awaited us. Slightly dim atmosphere, but charming and relaxing, this is an appropriate place to ‘feel’ the City.

I was also pretty surprised by the food choice. I had a British duck liver parfait where I received the whole jar, for my extreme happiness. My friend had a delicious bucket of very fresh prawns served with a tasty smoked aioli. I enjoyed the food, sat back into my booth and enjoyed my fresh avocado-based mocktail. Oh it felt good and our conversation merrily flowed among the nice food and the relaxing bar lights.

Enjoy London City people!

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Coffee Break

37-B Station Road, Wood Green, London N22 6AF

Food: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Price: 10 per person

Wood Green is definitely not the place you would visit in London. There isn’t really anything to visit, apart from a big, cheap, loud shopping centre. It is a fairly affordable area in north of London and I chose to live here thanks to the allover-reaching Piccadilly line.

At the same time, Wood Green represents a very actual London, sheltering different faces and faiths. These are the colours the international community is painting and re-drawing London with in 2015. And sometimes, I am glad to be part of this ever-changing force that – throughout the millennia – has always been able to defeat narrow minds and conservative skepticism.

In this bubbling and coloured neighborhood that is Wood Green, we found a hidden little pleasant place as Coffee Break.

The name does not make it standing out, does it? We happened to notice it after grocery shopping with my parents. Coffee Break is overshadowed by the grey Morrisons car park and the shabby three-storey buildings of Station Road. While leaving Morrisons, my mother noticed a sign outside of the café saying ‘Kimbo coffee’. A pretty famous coffee brand in Italy, Kimbo is a bit of an institution in my family. This is basically the only type of coffee my family has been drinking in the last thirty years.

Therefore, convinced by the thought of a possible decent coffee in the absolutely non-Italian neighborhood of Wood Green, we decided to give Coffee Break a go. And it was a good choice.

We went for a Sunday brunch, hence we chose among the biggest meals on the menu. The place offers quite a variety of food: English and Mediterranean breakfasts, full courses of meat, salads, crepes and cakes. Of course the place is not Italian, but Turkish. To be faithful to the neighbourhood trends.

Difficult to comment about the service which does not really stand out, like the place’s name. The waiter serving us was not really happy about working on a Sunday morning – understandably – but very polite. Few days later we went for an afternoon tea but the person behind the counter did not really speak English and communication was slightly impeded by this factor. Nevertheless, our breakfast was a delight.

I went for a ‘Princess Ezo’ Breakfast that included: black olives, grilled tomatoes, feta, halloumi, Turkish salami, Turkish hot dog (!), hash browns and fried eggs. The Turkish hot dog being a German wurst-looking sausage.

My partner chose a Queen Breakfast that varied for having scrambled eggs with spinach and a soft fresh cheese instead of feta. It was a very nice soft surprise, almost resembling an Italian ricotta.
The ingredients were fresh and tasty, the Mediterranean colours refreshed the eyes as well!

….and of course, we had to try a Kimbo espresso. Yes, it was good! probably not as black as an Italian person would drink it, but still strong, short and actually coffee-tasting.

The whole breakfast was filling but refreshing. I also thought it to be a good deal as it was indeed a big breakfast for £8.95. We also managed to get a fresh squeezed orange juice.

Who would have thought to find a place like this is the loud and chaotic Wood Green. So, if you now happen to having to go through Wood Green, walk among its chaos and colours, you now know where to have a break.

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