On my last day of freedom before returning to work on Monday, I had hoped to go for a long walk to Clapham to check out one of the cafés on my coffee to-do-list. However, the rain was so torrential on Sunday that I couldn't face venturing any further than SE1. Luckily, there is a new-ish all-day eatery in a former car park on Bermondsey Street that I had been wanting to visit, so I packed up my guidebook for Vietnam (my next big adventure) and my camera and headed out to The Bermondsey Yard Café.
I've walked past Bermondsey Yard a number of times since it opened a few months ago — its windows look out onto the part of London Bridge station that has been undergoing extensive works since I moved to the area, but the main entrance is at the top of Bermondsey Street. There is some outdoor seating but on Sunday, I hurried out of the rain and took a seat at a table near the windows. You can see the Shard but it isn't the best view of London...
The décor is sleek and sexy: dark wood tables accented with pops of slate grey and white. On a grey winter's day it felt very cosy inside. There are plenty of tables, for large groups and small. I arrived just before 2 pm and it was bustling, mainly with groups who were lingering over a lazy brunch. At the weekends, Bermondsey Yard is open for breakfast from 10 am and then brunch from 1-4 pm; during the week, they do dinner too, and the evening menu has a tempting selection of small and large plates.
The brunch menu also looked good. As well as the classics — smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast, for example — there are a few more interesting dishes, such as the cod cheeks with chips, lemon mayo and pea shoots. As it was my first brunch of the year, I decided to go with my usual brunch favourite: smashed avocado with chilli and lime on sourdough toast (£6). If you want to add a poached egg (and I did), it's an extra £1. The avocado was excellent and you could really taste the chilli — at some brunch spots, the chilli seems as though it's been added for its colour not its flavour. The egg was poached for ever so slightly too long and it wasn't quite as runny as I would have liked, but it was still a very tasty dish.
Coffee-wise, I started with a piccolo (£1.70), which was strong, rich and smooth. Bermondsey Yard gets its coffee from another local favourite of mine, The Gentlemen Baristas, and my piccolo was very well prepared. Needing another caffeine hit, I ordered a filter coffee, which prompted some confusion when I asked whether it was batch-brew or pourover. It turned out that they didn't have any filter coffee at all, although it's on the menu, so I had an americano (£2) instead, which was pretty good but didn't blow me away.
Bermondsey Street probably didn't need another foodie all-day-dining destination, but I'm glad it got Bermondsey Yard Café, which combines great food with a cool but relaxed setting, and I'm looking forward to going back for dinner and/or cocktails.
The Bermondsey Yard Cafe. 40 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD (Tube: London Bridge). Website. Twitter.