Roamers

Backstreet brunch in Berlin? Roamers is the way to go.

If you fancy a leisurely start to your day, head over to Roamers. A rustic brunch spot boasting charm, character and huge breakfasts, Roamers is tucked away in the backstreets of Neukölln, in the South-East of the city.

There are loads of tasty options at Roamers, with a long menu of homemade cakes, freshly made juices, artisan coffee and brunch. All their coffee is made through an old electra machine and the apple, ginger and mint juice is thirst-quenching and refreshing.

Depending on whether you fancy something sweet or savoury, we can heartily recommend the French toast and the sunny side eggs. Three pieces of French toast are stacked and topped with caramelized pear, fresh berries and crème-fraiche. The sunny side eggs are served on a huge tray, with avocado, sourdough bread, mixed salad, delicious homemade hummus and roasted tomatoes.

This is a great place to recharge your batteries and watch the world go by, but hoards of hungry Berliners and tourists flock to this place, so be prepared to queue and to wait a while for your table!

www.facebook.com/RoamersBerlin

Pannierstrasse 64, 12043 Berlin

 

SOS Café

Save your soul (and hunger) with a hipster jar salad or tiramisu pancakes from SOS Café.

After a lot of northside love, we finally ventured south of the river to see how they serve brunch in Melbourne's southside. The first port of call had to be Save Our Souls Café in South Yarra after we heard about their glorious tiramisu pancakes. The café is situated along a busy Toorak road yet is nicely set back in a piazza-style venue complete with a water fountain. Inside is pretty small but the exterior boasts a mass of marble tables and brass seating sheltered by a glass roof, making it an ideal spot to eat some eggs or drink some coffee come rain or shine. 

SOS's focus on organic, local and healthy food is seen throughout the menu. The 'Tiramisu Pancakes' should be indulged by everyone - because sometimes just liquid caffeine is not enough! Fluffy pancakes are layered with bananas and cashew cream with a sprinkling of cacao nibs and espresso ice cream. Don't forget to drizzle the whole plate in some maple syrup ristretto too. The 'Hipster Jar' provides a salad for all of your hipster foodie needs - quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, falafel and of course, kale crisps. Don't worry, SOS haven't forgotten to include the classic 'avo' option. Black sesame and pumpkin seed garnished avocado is served with creamy goats cheese on local Cobb Lane sourdough.

There's a variety of tasty brews to choose from. Super food smoothies such as 'That's My Jam, 'Muscle Magic', or 'SOS I Need Greens' are available for the health kick that you may still be sticking to since the new year. Green Street Juice Co. supply some of their cold-pressed, organic juices, which are sure to give you all of the fruit and veg you need for the day. And of course, coffee is available any which way you want with beans from Sensory Lab roasters. 

www.sos-cafe.com

5/177 South Yarra Road, Toorak, Melbourne, VIC, 3141

 

Small Victories

With nearly everything made in-house, a creative menu, all-day brunch and a front seating area to watch the world go by, Small Victories will keep you coming back for more, again and again!

After cycling past Small Victories numerous times and always seeing a front garden packed with happy faces, it was time to give this café a whirl. Nestled along a sleepy Rathdowne Street, Small Victories is still able to entice the masses by an interesting brunch menu, local coffee and even some alcohol. The team behind Small Victories know food well and this is highlighted by the fact that they make nearly everything in-house - whether it is creating yoghurt, churning butter or curing locally sourced ethical produce. These guys know what they’re doing! Their passion for food is shown in the creative and seasonal dishes you have to choose from.

The Middle-Eastern inspired poached eggs are my personal favourite. A healthy helping of creamy baba ganoush is spread upon toasted sourdough with a sprinkling of crisp kale, fried onions, walnuts, mint, and pomegranate. The savoury to sweet ratio is faultless here. Fritters are also on top form with two to select from: corn and ricotta. The corn fritters come with 12 hour smoked pork shoulder, green tomato chutney and a fried egg, while the ricotta fritters are served with roast pumpkin, 18 month aged prosciutto, walnut puree and a poached egg.

The coffee used comes from local roasters, Wide Open Road – you’re probably starting to see a pattern here, don’t worry an article on the coffee roasting connoisseurs is coming soon.

This is no small victory here; Small Victories have got it made! 

www.smallvictoriescafe.com.au

617 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North, Melbourne, VIC, 3054

 

Little Big Sugar Salt

Tasty food and yummy coffee served with a side of irony at Little Big Sugar Salt!

Situated along the hustle and bustle of Victoria Street in Abbotsford, Little Big Sugar Salt (LBBS) offers a quiet place to relax, eat some food and drink some coffee. As you enter, you'll see someone busy at work making all the goods in the open kitchen. Follow the timbered hallway to a choice of two rooms: one with a large sharing high top table, the other with smaller more intimate tables and a charming little fireplace. A nice touch from LBSS is delivering their menu in their very own broadsheet newspaper titled 'The General Vibe'. Changed with the seasons, The General Vibe offers humorous and satirical articles, classifications, sponsors, and even horoscopes (check the last photo) for you to peruse while you wait for your food. From the moment it is delivered, you'll probably ignore who ever you're brunching with for a good ten minutes. 

Once you eventually make your way to the menu, the Governor R. Swanson is a great choice for those wanting something filling with a bit of naughtiness. Referred to as 'large and in charge', LBSS's interpretation of the classic Croque Madame is not something to miss out on. Layers of sourdough are stuffed with copious helpings of mouth-watering slow braised pork hock and ham while swiss cheese and leek béchamel ooze from the sides with a gooey fried egg atop of the masterpiece. If you're putting those New Year's resolutions into practice, then the Bowl of Health may be the way to go. Smashed avocado, zoodles (zucchini noodles), spinach, shredded brussels, beetroot, enokitake, and a poached egg (all of the health) are mixed together with a creamy harissa butter bean puree, Would definitely recommend adding bacon to the bowl, because there is such a thing as being too healthy, right?! 

Coffee is also on point. Sourced from local roasters at Wide Open Road in Brunswick, LBSS are sure to serve a rich, smooth and creamy cappuccino every time. 

Go and get your humour on at Little Big Sugar Salt!

www.lbsscafe.com

385 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, Melbourne, VIC, 3067

 

Serotonin Eatery

Positive Pancakes + Swings = Happiness (at the Serotonin Eatery)

At Serotonin, there is one goal and one goal only - to make you happy! Tucked away in the eastern suburb of Burnley, this place is like no other I've been to before. Serotonin is a happiness hub for the community that is pioneering the way that people (just like you and I) will learn to live. And the idea is so simple - live positively! 

Emily Arundel, the founder of Serotonin Dealer, wanted a space where people were happy and motivated daily. Therefore, the Happiness Educational Institution was created with three specific focuses in mind: eatery, exercise and education. The Exercise centre is run by Gus Arundel who provides a personal training service to help individuals reach their health and fitness goals, and therefore increase their happiness. The Education centre (beginning in January 2016) will be running a 12 month program teaching the Serotonin Formula, designed with the cooperation of doctors, dietitians, food scientists and physiologists. The program's goal is to teach others how different parts of the body can affect one's mood and how simple actions can be taken to boost happiness in everyday life. The third focus is the Eatery whereby chef Sean Muir has created a plant-based menu offering foods which maintain neurotransmitters within the body to keep you feeling happy, mentally and physically. It's hard to say no to any of these!

The Eatery's interior is spacious and contemporary - perfect for a relaxed brunch away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Inside, the white walls come to life with splashes of green from plants and cacti scattered around the café. One of the best things about the Serotonin Eatery is the fact that you can enjoy your delicious (and healthy) food whilst sitting on a swing. Yep, you read it right! Remember those things that you used to run to first when getting to the park and fly through the air whilst closing your eyes. Well, this place has them in the window seats of the café and in the back garden. Just sitting on the swing alone, you are filled with happiness as it takes you back to the time when you were young and nothing else mattered except going higher than your sister. I would have been content with just sitting on the swing and gazing through the window but I'm older now, so I brunch too. At the eatery, every choice is a healthy choice! Don't jump to the conclusion that that means nothing is tasty, as it is quite the opposite. Everything tastes delicious AND you feel great knowing that it's good for you too!

A Cacao Coconut Latte delivered in a Japanese-style 'hug mug' is a good starting point at the Eatery. Crafted with house-made hot chocolate from organic raw cacao and grated cacao butter spun on organic milk, this rich and velvety hot drink kicks off your day right. If you're into green tea, the Matcha Latte is the one to go for. And if you're after something cold, there is also a wide array of fresh juices and smoothies to choose from. The first food item on the menu had me at 'positive pancakes'. Organic banana flour pancakes are served with layers of mixed berry coulis with fresh blueberries and strawberries, a side of refreshingly mushy house-made banana ice-cream, whilst atop of the pancakes sits creamy serotonin hung yoghurt balls covered in roasted almonds made complete by a drizzling of organic agave syrup. The pancakes were light and fluffy packed full of flavour from the various sweet toppings and I didn't feel like I'd overeaten by the end of it (if anything, I wanted more)! Some of the other must-try items on the menu include 'Deconstructed Sushi', 'Brainiac Salad', and 'Nutrition Bomb'.

It's always happy hour at Serotonin, so go and get your fix!

www.serotonindealer.com

52 Madden Grove, Burnley, Melbourne, VIC, 3121

 

Lucy Lockett

A friend showed me this little treasure of a cafe when I first arrived in Melbourne, and it has quickly become my go-to for coffee and food in Brunswick. Just far away enough from the bustling activities of Lygon Street, invitingly tucked away on a quiet stretch of Barkly Street, lies Lucy Lockett. For the longest time, my friend had no idea what it was called for lack of signage. ‘Lucy Lockett’ - the clandestine name for the café can be found on the food/drink menu followed by the popular nursery rhyme - 'Lucy Lockett lost her pocket, Kitty Fisher found it; not a penny was there in it, only ribbon round it'. There's actually a cute reason behind the name too - the owner has a tendency, like Lucy Lockett, to always be losing his keys. Upon finding out this, I fell in love with the place even more. My little sister is named Lucy and when we were young my parents always called her 'Lucy Lockett' so this place makes me feel slightly at home even though I'm ten thousand five hundred miles away. 

Open everyday from 8am until 3pm, Lucy Lockett entices people in with its simple and minimalist design. And unlike most cafes in Melbourne, Lucy Lockett has the rarity that is a front patio - complete with wooden tables, yellow stools and umbrellas. Perfect for those sunny days when you just want to daydream and watch passers-by. The spacious interior boasts a relaxed atmosphere with a clean white finish, big wooden tables, and white stools aplenty. Vintage filament lightbulbs hang from the ceiling whilst the walls enjoy a splatter of green from plants growing out of wooden boxes.

Food here is incredible! I know, I know, Melbourne is full of amazing food left, right and centre but this cafe is on point! The acai berry smoothie bowl was probably the closest (healthy) thing to heaven I’ve ever eaten, and will be eating again and again and again… Atop of the ridiculously huge portion of delicious acai berry smoothie lies granola (packed with dried cranberries and almond flakes) with fresh strawberries and blueberries. This was actually my first time trying acai (have I been living under a rock you ask) and I will most definitely be adding it to my weekly grocery list. Those with a sweet tooth should grab the hearty gingerbread pancakes. Piled up four stacks high with strawberries, blueberries, rich maple butter, chunks of crunchy honeycomb and drizzled with maple syrup, I’m surprised this architecture of food didn’t topple over en route to delivery. For something more savoury, the chilli corn fritters are the way to go. Packed with a punch, these crispy deep-fried balls of flavour are accompanied by creamy avocado and huge dollops of sour cream and a spicy roast capsicum (red pepper to all the English folk) and tomato salsa.

Lucy Lockett uses Bailey coffee beans and always delivers a smooth and creamy cappuccino. For those super hot days, try the iced chai latte (which you get to strain yourself) or enjoy one of the fresh juices cold pressed in-house daily.

I'll be spending a lot of my time here whilst in Melbourne! 

www.lucylockett.com.au

140 Barkly Street, Melbourne, Brunswick, VIC, 3056

 

Archie's All Day

Brunch game in Fitzroy is strong but this hasn't stopped Archie's All Day from delivering some of the best eggs you can get down Gertrude Street. Owner, Anthony Brem, knew exactly what he was doing after the success of his first café in Collingwood, Bluebird Espresso. The focus for Archie's, which sets it apart from the rest, is its emphasis on 'All Day' - Archie's vows to deliver delicious brunches (7:30am - 3pm), hearty lunches (10am - 5pm) and delectable dinners (5pm - 10pm) alongside any accompanying liquid that takes your fancy (be it a coffee, smoothie, cocktail, beer or wine).

Walking along Gertrude Street, Archie's lures you in with its clean white exterior and single signage leaving you hungry (quite literally) to find out more. The interior is also white with wooden floors, wooden tables, cool hanging light fixtures, various artwork and an assortment of aqua decor. So simple yet so aesthetically pleasing! In the surprisingly spacious venue, there is seating to satisfy everyone - whether you want a space at the front to watch passers-by, a spot at the bar to enjoy a beer, a comfy spacious booth, a high bench or to catch some rays in the back garden, Archie's has you covered.

When we arrived at around 11am on a Thursday, the place was packed. We were lucky enough to grab the last open table on the high bench seating near the bar. We were promptly given some water and two menus - hungry / thirsty. Chef Nick Sawle compiled the ever-lasting all day food menu that is creatively and adventurously packed with influences from Australia, Japan and the Middle East including items such as dirty eggs, wagyu burger, and daikon kim-chi.  I opted for the Middle Eastern inspired dish - chickpea hommous, sprouted beans, harissa labne, fried eggs, flatbread and added chorizo. The home-made chickpea hummous and creamy harissa labne with gooey fried eggs was a different yet awesome combination, and was well complimented by the salty and meaty chorizo. My friend tucked into the Huevos sucios (dirty eggs), tater tots, jalapeno, spiked Monterrey Jack, avocado and tomatillo salsa, black beans, fried eggs, with chipotle mayo, which seems to be the new best cure for a hangover in Fitzroy.

To drink, I stuck to the good stuff - a creamy cappuccino using Proud Mary coffee was served to me in a cute mint-coloured cup and saucer. My friend had a Bloody Mary and claims that it was the best one she'd had so far in Melbourne! Besides coffee, Archie's also produces some delicious smoothies (e.g. raspberry, apple and mint crush), boasts an extensive craft beer (which includes 'Archie's Ale') and wine list, whilst also providing an innovative cocktail list created by Elle Newbould-Figg (Dr Pepper flavoured cocktail anyone?!). There's something to choose for any time of the day!

I'll be visiting Archie's All Day again for sure! 

www.archiesallday.com

189 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, VIC, 3065

 

Nelson the Seagull

In the heart of East Vancouver, within the depths of edgy Gastown, lies this beautifully quaint and simplistic eatery - Nelson the Seagull. This spacious café was restored on a tight budget leaving many of the old elements from the Rainier Hotel Heritage building intact. High ceilings with mosaic tiles on the floor, antique mailbox drawers, old-school art, a vinyl record player and a black-and-white photo of Nelson Mandela as a boxer behind the counter allows for a rustic yet cosy vibe to the place. The seating arrangements are also charming - from lounging sofas to tables for the whole neighbourhood to sit, this place is a great local hang out to get work done or enjoy a bite to eat. Nelson the Seagull's focus is on Bread and Coffee (as it says on their window), and, boy, do they do it right! 

Their minimalist menu proves that you really don't need anything extravagant to satisfy you're every foodie needs. Breakfast is served all day (thank god), with a choice of muesli, avocado on toast, grilled cheese or soft poached eggs on buttered sourdough toast with the option to add roasted beef, mushrooms, tomatoes or avocado. We were in breakfast heaven. The sourdough bread is cooked in-house at the back of the café in the open air kitchen, allowing the smell of warm cooked bread to engulf the entire space. If you manage to time your feast just right, it will be hard to not walk home with a loaf (or three) of Nelson's finest. Nelson also has a sweet lunch menu - daily soup or salad, and three sandwiches to choose from: Carnivore, Herbivore and Ploughmans. We didn't actually try any coffee at this place (which we definitely regret) but the homemade lemonade was delightfully refreshing.

The obscure name 'Nelson the Seagull' has a cool story behind it too. The two owners, Lee and Jonathan Snelgar, grew up in South Africa and wanted to tribute their café to Nelson Mandela's courage and morality during the apartheid. 'Nelson the Seagull' is a play on the popular song 'The Seagull's name was Nelson' made famous in South Africa by folk singers, Des and Dawn Lindberg, in the 1970s. The song unwittingly became an anthem for the anti-apartheid movement.

For more information, check out their website here. 

 

Brunch at The Bison

Bison's owners have a winning formula. They are part of the Banff Hospitality Collective group which includes many an eatery: the Balkans Greek restaurant, Magpie & Stump Mexican, the Park Distillery, Bear Street Tavern Pizzeria, the Eddie Burger, and the Maple Leaf Grille. If this isn't enough reason to go, then this review should convince you. Bison is smart yet homely, bustling yet relaxing, and service is very good. The menu proudly boasts that it is regional and seasonal - always good to hear.

Bison's Caesar's (Canadian version of a Bloody Mary) are delicious. The spice level is perfect, the alcohol warming but not overpowering and the juice refreshing. The mimosas are sweet and crisp. Fancy a coffee? Try a brunch shaft - espresso vodka and chocolate milk - creamy and rich.

The menu here is full of amazing options; you'll be hard pressed to pick one. There are eggs benny lots of ways: duck confit and goats cheese, salmon and asparagus, bacon and maple syrup and steak. All of these will satisfy - but if you're feeling meaty, go for the steak. Succulent and flavoursome, with two well poached eggs, nothing at Bison is done by halves. This also includes the mountain breakfast (their version of the full English) and the French toast. This is a sweet tooth's dream, with Apple slaw, berries, whipped cream. The double smoked bacon and Gouda balance the flavours to ensure you can finish the lot. If you swing more toward lunch than breakfast at your brunch, choose the Bison burger or sandwich - packed full of great quality meat, cheese and potato.

The more unusual option on the menu is the brunch pizza. Packed with potato, tomato, onion, Gouda, eggs and bacon, this is a real treat. There could be more hollandaise to perk up the base, but otherwise this is something we want to see on more brunch menus please. The more classic option of the cast iron frittata is huge, ripe tomatoes and creamy goats cheese ensure it is full of flavour and almost too big to finish.

Brunch at Bison is done very well. The huge windows allow light to flood in and there is a gorgeous terrace for those warmer mornings. Service is en pointe and the setting is relaxed, with tables well spaced so you never feel as if you are hemmed in. The food is really, mouth wateringly, lip smackingly good.

The Bison is located just off of Banff Ave along Bear Street. For more information, check out their website here. 

 

Credit to Holy Brunch for the write up! Check out their website, twitter and instagram for many more brunch reviews!

Riding House Cafe

In the heart of London's picturesque and trendy Fitzrovia neighbourhood along Great Titchfield Street (just a short walk from Oxford Circus tube station) lies The Riding House Café. We'd heard nothing but praise for this modern all-day brasserie and decided it was finally our turn to give this place a taste.

As soon as we stepped through the door we could see the praise was just. At once shabby warehouse chic and modern minimalism dominates the room, with open brick accents, comfy seating and a stylish bar seating area. We got there what we thought was early for brunch (11:30… although perhaps in all fairness this is just early for lunch) and the place's reputation preceded it: we were greeted by two lovely, friendly hostesses who chatted away to us while we waited for our table. A mere 10 minutes later we were taken to the bar, gratefully with our tummies rumbling, eager to try the delicious smelling fare (which, by the way, you can see the chefs creating in the open-style kitchen - a double-edged sword as it keeps you on tenterhooks waiting for your food!) 

While we anxiously awaited our food, we ordered a drink - B's classic PBJ smoothie went down a treat, although it was on the heavier side, and my cocktail was pure heaven. We had previously discovered the magic of the gin garden, and upon telling the bartender this he recommended the Twist My Word: a heavenly mix of gin, aperol, elderflower liquor and lime, that was both fragrant and refreshing, and the perfect amount of sweet. 

The food arrived promptly - we ordered ourselves a feast consisting of the Eggs Benny, the Eggs Royale, and the Chorizo Hash Brown. Our eyes (and noses) were definitely bigger than our bellies though, as the Hash Brown (although delicious) could have been a meal in its own right, topped as it was with a poached egg, fresh spinach and a grilled mushroom. The star of the show were the Bennies, dressed in a beautiful Hollandaise which was neither too rich or cloying but packed with creamy flavour. My smoked salmon, and the perfectly crispy bacon on B's were both unreal combos, and the fresh chives were the perfect finishing touch. Having wolfed down what was truly an incredible breakfast, and stuffed ourselves to the brim, we rolled out into the gorgeous afternoon sunshine to wander the streets of Soho. RHC is the perfect brunch spot, reasonably priced, aesthetically lovely and full of friendly staff eager to help, serving up delicious, wholesome breakfast to soothe the soul (and our hangovers!). 

www.ridinghousecafe.co.uk

43-51 Great Titchfield St, London W1W 7PQ