On a weekday, I eat my breakfast ‘al-desko’ to ease the pain of answering emails. When the weekend arrives, however, breakfast can be given the time and attention it deserves. If I’m lucky, I’ll be visiting an Australian or New Zealand-inspired café. Indeed, over the last ten years London has learned much from the influx of Antipodean café culture with its focus on freshly roasted coffee, fresh food and friendly, independent business. Antipodeans understand the importance of a good breakfast.
One such Australian establishment is Daisy Green, which sells hearty, healthy food from their vintage van, hole in the wall coffee shops, and three cafés. Upstairs at their Portman Village home, a counter of lamingtons, brownies, cakes, granola, yogurt and fruit offers myriad mix-and-match options to the takeaway crowd. Below, an Alice in Wonderland style seating area awaits: giant rabbit heads, oversize eggs, fake flowers suspended from the ceiling and piles of bananas (more on bananas later…) There is no sign of the exposed brickwork or spartan furniture that has come to characterise cool London cafes, and Daisy Green feels all the more comfortable for it.
Those seeking something substantial might order the Bondi, a full English lightened by chilli pesto and avocado. Shakshuka oozing soft yolks and sweet tomato sauce arrives with a heap of sourdough for dipping. Less indulgent, but equally tempting, is poached egg teetering a-top a stack of brocoli and corn fritters. Avoiding anything rich that might re-appear during my half marathon the following day, I settled for quinoa and oat bircher muesli. The quinoa added a delicate crunch, but it lacked the light creaminess that is typical of the best bircher.
If you really want to treat yourself and induce serious food envy amongst your fellow diners, you must order the award winning banana bread sandwich. Two lightly toasted slabs of banana bread with a spectacularly gooey centre, sandwiched together by enough honeyed mascarpone to cause concern for your blood pressure. A smattering of berries helps a little to cut through the richness. I was unable to resist polishing off the leftovers of a hungover friend and can confirm that it is one deliciously decadent sandwich.
We practically polished our plates and lingered over Monmouth coffee until lunch.