How to describe Brunswick House Cafe? Here's a stab: village hall teleported to Vauxhall roundabout and given an urban edge. With brunch.
This English eccentric cafe is the only Georgian building on its patch - the unlovely surrounds of Vauxhall bus station and new-build yuppie flats on the Thames' edge, which tower over Brunswick House. You have to cross several perilous lanes of traffic to even get to the cafe, ducking and diving buses like a Dodgeball training exercise.
But the life-threatening traffic dodging is worth it as Brunswick House is a gem. The building is owned by architectural salvage firm Lassco, so as well as the cafe there are three storeys of treasures to admire, stroke and rifle through - chandeliers, reclaimed furniture and floorboards, wooden letters and antique doorknobs. All at central London prices of course (I could just about have stretched to a doorknob.)
|Brunswick House Cafe|
The brunch menu is short but inventive. There's a Dexter meatball sub, waffles and strawberries with a pool of chocolate sauce, and a smoked salmon and courgette frittata with radish salad. I opt for roast tomatoes and aioli on toast with bacon. So simple, but deliciously effective...
|aioli and slow-roast tomatoes on toast, Brunswick House|
A thick slice of sourdough is topped with creamy and potent aioli. It'd never occurred to me to put aioli on toast before but it's a winner, especially with the garlic off-set by sweet slow-roast tomatoes, crisp bacon and a tangle of watercress.
|Salt beef with dripping toast, Brunswick House|
Chloe's salt beef with dripping toast, cheese, pickles and mustard is essentially a deconstructed Reuben sandwich. With the thickest, tenderest slab of salt beef you've ever seen.
|Sourdough doughnut, Brunswick House Cafe|
Best of all? There's pudding. In our case, a warm sourdough doughnut with apricot compote and creme fraiche. The sour dough and lightest dusting of sugar mean it's actually not too sweet, especially with the tangy apricot and slight sourness of the creme fraiche. Like everything else at Brunswick House cafe it's original, unexpected and executed with style.
Brunswick House Cafe, 30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall London SW8 2LG