I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; brunch is undoubtedly one of my favoured meal times. Ok technically it’s not a meal time at all, just a greedy addition that those of us with a sweet tooth and an inkling for devouring a breakfast and a bowl of pancakes before lunch can call a meal time. Clearly I am guilty of both of those traits and therefore brunch is my ultimate guilty pleasure. Ever since my Hen Do in Paris, where my Best Women and I accidentally spent three hours doing nothing but endless brunching, the pastime has also become the new ‘girls night’ in my group of friends and any plans for meet ups usually start or end with and exclamation of ‘I’ll do a Parisian style brunch’. It always ends up lasting around three hours and it’s always epic.
Sometimes I think I may even enjoy dining out for brunch more than I do dinner, which is why I jumped at the chance to review Granger and Co on behalf of Citizen Mag. With branches in Kings Cross, Notting Hill and Clerkenwell, this Australian born breakfast hotspot set up by Bill Granger has been gaining a lot of love from London locals lately and I was keen to see whether it would satisfy my traditional brunch palette and tendency for Parisian inspired three hour long dining.
Myself and my friend Danielle headed there one Thursday with avocado salsa in our sights and two months worth of catch up at the ready.
The busy market place of Portobello Road is usually as far as I get when venturing to Notting Hill, and perhaps could explain why I often find myself ending up in an overpriced cafe spending more than I mean to on a coffee and less than impressive cake, instead of dining somewhere like Granger and Co. If you’re not a local you’ll have to seek this place out a little, venture past Portobello Road and amble down Westbourne Grove. It’s worth it though – stuck on the corner of one of those perfectly white house lined streets that Notting Hill does so well – this sunny and fresh little spot is a gem. With seats outside and yellow and grey exterior design, even on a cloudy day Granger and Co gives off those happy feels.
Inside, the small space is packed full of diner style wooden tables and chairs with a long breakfast bar on one side dominating the room and creating an ‘at home’ feel with bowls of fruit and big plates of home bakes adorning it. The large windows all around the opposite side keep the room feeling bright, open and fresh despite the rather cramped way the tables are jigsawed in. Even on a Thursday morning as we arrived at around 11am the place was full to the brim of fellow breakfast hungry souls, with an excited chatter providing the background noise. The one slight down side to this branch is that they don’t take bookings (maybe part of the laid back Aussie style?) and so you kind of have to hedge your bets. Turns out our bets on a Thursday at 11am weren’t all that good so we were given seats at the bar and a pot of tea to start us off while we waited for a table to become available. This didn’t bother the blogger in me too much as it gave me a good ten minutes or so to get all my shots done, meaning I could sit down and enjoy my meal without too much interruption later on. That being said I’ve heard rumours of queues come the weekend so should you plan a visit maybe get there early just to make sure.
If that ten minute wait for a table did anything, it was make us even more eager to get stuck into the impressive menu at Granger and Co. While waiting we repeatedly saw super stylish meals emerge from the kitchen which had us scrambling for the menu to try and figure out what the concoctions were. Breakfast is served until 12pm here and is really what the restaurant gained its name for but it’s also open for lunch, dinner and drinks should you fancy something different. While there’s not a specific brunch menu, arriving at 11am clearly meant we had that in mind, and were fully prepared to order both a classic breakfast plate and a sweet treat to end.
The breakfast menu is made up of fruits and grains (think bircher muesli and miso porridge), bakery goods (the chilli fried egg and bacon brioche roll looked amazing), Bill’s classics (those sweetcorn fritters you may have heard about, or an Aussie brekkie), eggs and sides (any style you like and of course that famous avocado salsa) and big plates (for those who’d maybe prefer to get there for lunch but are playing along with your brunch obsession).
The decision definitely wasn’t easy but in the end we narrowed it down to us both wanting to try the sweetcorn fritters and avocado salsa, but also craving eggs, and the ricotta pancakes just too intriguing to pass up. And so we ordered them all.
Danielle opted for the sweetcorn fritters, roast tomato, spinach and a side of scrambled eggs while I went for the sunny side up eggs on sourdough with added bacon and avocado salsa, and then we ordered the ricotta pancakes for afters. A fruit juice each and a peach bellini for good measure (another great thing about brunch – the fact that cocktails are totally par for the course) completed the meal. I’d heard a lot about the avocado salsa before visiting Granger and Co and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact I’ve been attempting to make my own at home ever since and not quite getting it right. My eggs were perfect – bright yellow yolks which burst and oozed out with the prick of a fork – and the crispy bacon just right, which went wonderfully with the wilted spinach. I sneaked a taste of those fritters from Danielle’s plate too (all in the name of research of course) and they were super tasty – crispy and fresh and not at all greasy. In fact none of the food felt greasy or over indulgent (despite the fact we had so much of it) which a breakfast of this sort so often can.
We probably were a little full when the pancakes arrived but there’s always room for dessert right? I was a little sceptical about these sweet meets savoury hotcakes – ricotta filled but topped with maple syrup and honeycomb butter – but they hit the spot for sure. Traditional pancake lovers might not be keen as there was definitely a different taste and texture but the honeycomb butter was divine, and smother anything in maple syrup makes it tastes good in my book.
We sat adding to the excited chatter that filled the room for a good couple of hours more after we’d finished eating (definitely fulfilling that three hour quota), ordering more tea and every so often grabbing another bite of the pancakes we’d been to full to finish. Just as the breakfast crowds started to leave, lunch eaters arrived so it never felt anything but busy. Seeing a few lunch dishes come out confirmed that I’ll need to come back and try that menu too before too long but for now this haunt has got two thumbs up from me on all things breakfast and brunch.
Granger and Co describes itself as ‘reflecting the spirit we like to think of as ‘Australian’: sunny, easy going and generous’ and I think they definitely achieve this. Just be careful to hurry up and visit, as the hype is catching on fast.
Thanks to Citizen Mag for the opportunity to visit this hot spot. To read more about the Notting Hill branch check out the magazine’s verdict too.
Granger and Co
175 Westbourne Grove
London W11 2SB