09 August 2018

The Caffeine Chronicles: The Pear Tree

From Canada Water to Norway Gate and Helsinki Square, it's possible to travel the world without ever leaving the Rotherhithe peninsula in southeast London. The names reflect the area's rich shipping history, until the closure of Surrey Docks in 1970. And it's on Greenland Place, in the heart of these former docklands, that I find another place that harks back to faraway lands.

The Pear Tree is an Australian-inspired all-day neighbourhood eatery, located just south of Surrey Docks and not much further from the River Thames itself, in full serpentine curvature at this point. This part of the world, on the borders between Surrey Docks and Deptford, is not far from my Bermondsey home but I have fewer opportunities to visit than I used to. The coffee and the brunch at the Pear Tree comes highly recommended, however, so I schedule myself some Sunday morning brunch.

As it turns out, I probably should have booked. At 10:30 am, the eatery is already bustling and as it's a warm day, the tables outside on the pedestrianised street are full too. Luckily, the host manages to squeeze me in to a table in the middle of the light and tastefully decorated dining room. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and the other customers include couples, families and groups of friends.

Allow a few minutes to parse the varied menu. There are both 'breakfasty' and 'lunchy' brunch dishes available, with the latter ranging from pasta to poké, and duck hash to Dan Dan noodles. I am still in a breakfasty brunch frame of mind and stick to the requisite left-hand side of the menu. Most of the dishes are brunch classics, although some also have a twist; pulled pork benedict, yes please. Sometimes, though, all I really want is a really good avocado toast, like that epic work of epicurean beauty I had at Code Black, barely two hours after touching down in Melbourne last year. The Pear Tree's dish doesn't disappoint. The avocado is lightly smashed and comes with a coriander, lime and chilli dressing on chunky sourdough toast with superbly flavoursome oven-roasted cherry tomatoes.

But what of the coffee? Well, it's from Caravan — they use the Daily Blend — which is an excellent start. A little-known fact about me — despite the name of my blog and apparent drinking habits — is that I really like flat whites, but only when they're really well prepared. This means I rarely order them outside the Antipodes. I have an inkling that the Pear Tree's flat white would fit the bill, and I am correct. Served in an Acme cup, it is perfectly proportioned and tasted delicious. Next time, I may even branch out and try another Aussie classic, the iced Milo (an iced chocolate milk drink), or perhaps I'll just stick to a brunch cocktail.

The Pear Tree is open until 10 pm every day. It's a pleasant ten-minute stroll from Surrey Quays Overground. It's bursting with Australian-style hospitality too: the wait staff and baristas are universally warm, attentive and efficient, even during a busy service. Oh, and don't miss the well-stocked deli by the front counter.

The Pear Tree. Greenland Place, Yeoman Street, London, SE8 5ET (Surrey Quays Overground). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

For 100+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, please check out my speciality coffee guide.

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