All good things come to an end and that is even true when it comes to eating out. As anyone that has ever read one of my restaurant reviews will know I have been a loyal fan and regular brunch visitor at Workshop Coffee for a few years now. However a change in menu that saw my two favourite dishes disappear ( replaced to my annoyance with none veggie friendly options), less friendly staff and a hike in price, for me a £3 flat white no matter how perfectly brewed really not excusable, meant that I eventually felt no other choice but to embark on a search for new places to spend my favourite mealtime of the week at. Luckily living in east London I have a growing choice of cafés and restaurants that try to do something a little different with their brunch offerings at my disposal and depending on whether you fancy something sweet or savoury has seen me discover some unexpected gems, able to fill the void left behind by Workshop!
The Breakfast Club Hoxton
I have always been rather critical of the Breakfast club for a few reasons. It is the type of place included in most semi cool guide books and as a result more often than not filled with hordes of tourists, prepared to queue a good hour to tick it of their "to do in London" list. I for one detest both waiting for my food ( especially if hungover and before coffee) and tourist traps where restaurants tend to get away with rather mediocre fare to high prices, knowing that of course most customers have come for the experience and not high culinary standards. I had been to a few of their branches many years ago but found them rather cramped ( especially the soho restaurant) and my savoury dishes nothing out of the ordinary. However after a sudden craving for pancakes a friend of mine vouched for the greatness of the stack of fluffy doughy goodness served up at the Breakfast Club and I reconsidered my initial hesitation. Living literally around the corner from the Hoxton Breakfast club I put my doubts aside and gave it another go and was pleasantly surprised! Yes, there was a queue but the wait was short and service friendly. Once sat the room was spacious and atmosphere unrushed, not a given considering the queue outside. Once we had ordered, for me the classic pancakes with berries, vanilla cream and a jug of maple syrup and for my meat loving best friend Abigail pancakes with the addition of a mountain of various meat, we knew we had come to the right place. Generous portions, beautifully flavoured cream and a stack of fluffy and delicious pancakes completely hit the spot and was great value for money at £8 for my portion. The menu caters for every taste though I think for me the Breakfast club is my new to go to for that certain pancake craving I get every few weeks. Even if the Breakfast club isn't the most edgy place it is a London brunch institution underrated by many Londoners!
Ozone Coffee had been on my brunch map for some time but once again it's proximity to Workshop coffee, located just off Old street roundabout, had seen me reluctant to take the plunge and try somewhere new and unknown. After another underwhelming Workshop experience however ( spending just under £20 on a minuscule portion of eggs, beans, mushrooms and a coffee) I was determined to give it a go, especially after having a glimpse at their rather enticing and veggie friendly menu. With their own coffee roastery, Ozone is housed in a slightly industrial inspired, big, bright and welcoming place and me and my brunch buddy instantly felt at home perching on one of their benches. Coffee, of course, is a matter of pride here and for a reason. My flat white was smooth, strong and one of the best I have had in London. The food too is imaginative and full of fresh flavours. We settled for the mushrooms on sourdough with Swiss cheese and a dollop of creme fraiche, simple ingredients cooked perfectly, and chips ( and what chips with their crispy skin on and sea salt flakes on top) with aioli, one of the best I have had to date even when compared with more famous burger bar ones. Paying under £15 each, we left stuffed, satisfied and already discussing what to try next time. I have a feeling Ozone will become a regular weekend spot of mine in no time.