I have a lot of great brunch venues in my repertoire but when I have visitors from New York, I know I have to up my game a little if I am going to be able to impress them. Years ago — back when I was still a Marylebone resident — I used to love going for brunch in Notting Hill and although I only went to Granger & Co once, it remained one of my favourites. Notting Hill is a bit of a pain to get to from Bermondsey, but luckily, there is now a second branch of Granger & Co in Clerkenwell. Better still, they take bookings, which is handy when queuing outside on a bitterly cold Sunday morning isn't the most inviting prospect.
The Clerkenwell outpost of Bill Granger's famous Sydney eatery is on Sekforde, a quiet side street near Clerkenwell Road. The design of the building is gorgeous: the huge floor-to-ceiling windows make it light and airy even on the greyest of February days. With a bit of imagination, you could almost be in a sunny Sydney conservatory instead. Almost.
After a long hard night of cocktail-drinking, I avoided Granger & Co's list of delicious-sounding cocktails (bourbon, cold brew coffee and chocolate bitters? Yes please!) in favour of a long black (£2.80) and a green juice (£4.80), which involved green apple, cucumber, ginger, silver beet, chia and coconut water and was zingy and tasty.
The next challenge was deciding what to order. At brunch, I usually err on the side of breakfast dishes, rather than lunch dishes, but having skipped dinner on Saturday night, I was pretty hungry and the burger sounded mighty good. In the end, the call of sweetcorn fritters, roast tomato, spinach and bacon (£3.50) was too strong. When the waitress asked if I would like a side of avocado salsa for an extra £2.80, there was only one answer.
The food at Granger & Co isn't cheap but it's darn good. I was glad I had the extra avocado with my dish as the portion wasn't huge (at least not for this greedy bruncher). The New Yorker went for the Full Aussie breakfast (£13.80), which was rather epic. I tried a tiny amount of the scrambled eggs, which were beautifully smooth, creamy and moist. Next time, I might be tempted to try the scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with a side of avo. Well, either that or the burger.
Granger & Co was bustling even on a dull February lunchtime, so you should definitely book a table online. Some popular brunch haunts really try to cram in the tables, but we were seated at a comfy, spacious corner table and were never rushed by the friendly wait staff. The Aussies sure do make an exceptional brunch: great food and a great casual-cool vibe.
Granger & Co. 50 Sekforde Street, London, EC1 0HA (Tube: Farringdon). Website. Twitter.