London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


High Street Kensington

Brunch is one of the most criminally under-taken meals of the week. Who doesn’t love brunch? But how many of us truly make the time for it? Sure, the majority of the week is spent getting up every morning trying to get to work on time, getting in the way of any chance of a nice leisurely brunch, but even at the weekends we never get to eat brunch as often as we’d like. And no, having a bowl of cereal when you wake up at midday does not count. A real brunch is indulgent and relaxing, a time to kick back with the Sunday papers and eat some ‘proper’ food, usually while desperately trying to chase away a hangover with a Bloody Mary or two.

For a truly relaxing brunch, it’s best to go out and avoid both the cooking and the washing up, and where better than a local neighbourhood café/restaurant. Every neighbourhood has at least one hidden gem, somewhere that cooks food like your mother used to, is reasonably priced, and, ideally, within staggering distance of your front door. You could head into central London and pay top dollar at a fancy restaurant, but brunch is best enjoyed in a cosy café with friendly service.

One such place is Ffiona’s, just of Kensington High Street. Homely and comforting, the dim lighting soothes your inevitable weekend hangover before the strong black coffee even begins to flow. We visited one Sunday morning and the relatively small venue was packed with locals meeting with friends and enjoying large portions of home cooked comfort food. We were greeted by Ffiona herself, a charismatic matriarch who made us feel right at home and for whom nothing was too much trouble.

To eat, we opted for a lumberjack brunch of buttermilk pancakes, maple syrup and bacon joined with a cumbersome serving of midly spicy chorizo hash packed with Spanish sausage, red onions, sweet potato and topped with two poached eggs. The pancakes were thick and fluffy, just like I wish I could make at home, topped with crispy bacon and sticky, sweet maple syrup. It was filling, satisfying and set us perfectly for the lazy Sunday ahead. The chorizo hash was from the specials menu, and it was indeed very ‘special’. Frying together some of our favourite ingredients (we can never get enough chorizo and sweet potato) and with two poached eggs topping it off, it made for a first class brunch. If we were being picky, our only comment would be that the pancakes could have benefitted from an extra rasher of bacon, but we were still left completely satisfied after our meal.

We accompanied our food with a Bloody Mary each; the official cocktail for Sunday mornings. We like our with a good tabasco kick and these certainly packed a punch fighting off our mild touch of hair of the dog, altogether leaving us to leave Ffiona’s feeling a million times better than when we had arrived.

Ffiona’s is the sort of atmosphere that we would enjoy spending all day in, poring over the broadsheets and mainlining coffee. It’s comfy and relaxing and the sort of place that we wish was in our neighbourhood. The people of Kensington certainly have a first class brunch destination right on their doorstep.

51 Kensington Church Street, W8 4BA

Average price for mains: £11
Average price for cocktail: £8
Food/Drink: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Value: 4/5


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