BRUNCH IN CLAPHAM
SOME BELTERS HAVE OPENED THEIR DOORS
I have to admit the words ‘brunch in Clapham’ do not fill me with joy.
I lived there and know what that can mean (pretty s**t places only offering the chance of getting sloshed – and that’s fine, but I wanted more). That being said, the last few months have seen some fantastic brunch spots crop up in my old hunting ground – I’m a little jealous they weren’t there earlier.
Not wanting to sound like an absolute arse, but most guides to a Clapham brunch are either meh or outdated. Or both. The below is anything but that – we’re confident you’ll have a wonderful time, be it sober or boozy.
Juliets Café & Bar
SERENITY & SIMPLICITY
You might have heard of Juliets Quality Foods in Tooting (previously Milk Teeth), renowned for its adventurous and maximalist brunches. Well, Juliets Café and Bar is an offshoot that champions simplicity in the best possible way.
This isn’t to say things are boring; quite the opposite: at Juliets, simplicity means taking a break from everyday stresses; sitting outside with a fragrant coffee and enjoying the moment; using just enough ingredients where everything serves a purpose.
I know this sounds like utter trite, but it’s the only way I can accurately describe Juliets’ vibe. There aren’t superfluous flowers sitting sadly on the side of the plate; ingredients are of the highest quality and do the heavy lifting. I love it.
Located in the café spot at Studio Voltaire (an art gallery housed in a red-brick chapel), the space itself is relatively basic but the MVP awaits outside, where seating spills into a disarming courtyard ready to welcome Clapham brunchers. Turner Prize nominee Anthea Hamilton designed the courtyard garden and has created a space that manages to dispel life’s worries.
As for food, on weekends, the ever-changing breakfast and lunch menus are available all day. With plenty of vegan, veggie and meat options on offer, we bring out the old cliché, ‘everyone’s a winner’. Our visits have included the likes of a delightful croquet madame, chard & ricotta dumplings, sweetcorn & halloumi fritters (SO good), and a grilled comté sandwich.
The staff are always friendly and attentive, and take their time to explain the origins of ingredients and dishes. It’s a lovely touch.
Just a few moments from Clapham Common station, Juliets Café and Bar should be high on your Clapham brunch wishlist.
Bobo & Wild
A BRUNCH DESTINATION
Established in Shoreditch, Bobo & Wild’s Clapham venture might have only recently launched, but it’s already attracting the same level of acclaim that its Shoreditch branch is known for.
Bobo & Wild was born out of lockdown. Bobo, an experienced chef, wanted to create a go-to brunch destination and, well, without blowing too much smoke, he’s fully on his way to creating a go-to brunch brand.
A stone’s throw away from Clapham Common Station, Bobo & Wild offers a menu that’ll have you and your mates salivating for round 2, 3 and more. We’re talking the likes of field mushrooms on sourdough (throw a poached egg in and you’ve got my fav), truffle eggs, smoked salmon hash and delicious coyo hotcakes, not to mention some all-around brunch classics.
Not in the mood for a hearty brunch? Head to the counter where you’ll find plenty of cakes, pastries and focaccia goodies.
Wash it down with a proper coffee roasted by Bobo & Wild themselves – they don’t buy in brand-named roasts as they want to have quality control oversight. And this says it all.
Taking inspo from their Copenhagen travels, Willows has injected smorgasbord-style eating to Clapham brunch.
What does this actually mean? Well, you get a menu with bakery, dairy, protein and greens sections – each of these contains a range of small(ish) items and you simply mark what you want. This allows you to build your own platter just the way you like it.
When I was first told about Willows, I thought it was a bit of a gimmick. After visiting, I’m sold.
I chose seeded sourdough w/ whipped butter, scrambled eggs, streaky bacon and a helping of mushroom pâté. Mrs Butler had banana bread and vanilla mascarpone with cherry bakewell granola. The concept may be a little left field but the flavours are bang on.
I said I was sold on the concept: it’s because you can mix and match; try savoury AND sweet without having to order too much food and pay a shedload. It just works.
Willows professes to be a champion of community and, if you’ve read any of our other guides, you’ll know this is what we’re all about. It’s an art that is fast becoming lost.
The staff are lovely, the food is banging, and the Clapham brunch scene has got itself a rising star.
Reyes Coffee & Brunch
BRUNCH IN THE SUN
I lived in the area so I can say this: brunch in Clapham isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. A lot of places prioritise style over taste, catering to Instagram rather than palates.
This is why I’m a big fan of Reyes Coffee & Brunch – it’s a little spot in Clapham Old Town that, whilst pretty, doesn’t have a primary goal of featuring on your latest insta reel. Instead, they’ve created a neat space to eat good food, catch up with friends and chill.
Reyes serves a combo of Spanish-inspired dishes and classics. My personal favourite is their Chorizo Hash (chorizo with sweet potatoes, red onion, poached eggs and sourdough) and Boston Beans (pulled pork with bacon, chorizo, red onions, beans, poached eggs and sourdough). As for classics, expect the likes of Eggs Benedict, Royale & Co, smashed avo on toast, blueberry pancakes, banana bread and more.
Now, Reyes isn’t the biggest of spaces and it can feel a wee bit crammed inside, but its front terrace is the perfect spot to grab brunch in the sun and enjoy the good life.
Last but not least, the bill. Good news! There’s not much of it. Reyes is extremely reasonable given its Clapham location and quality. So sack off Megan’s for once and give this quaint Clapham brunch spot a go.
COMMUNITY & WELLBEING
We’ve already mentioned that the subtle art of creating a community-led cafe is fast becoming lost. It’s a shame. But we do have the likes of Nue Ground fighting the good fight.
Created with holistic wellbeing in mind, Nue Ground is a community-driven space that aims to champion sustainability, healthy living and a sense of zen. Though this sounds like something out of a self-help book, they’ve managed to achieve this unlikely feat.
The space itself is pared back with neutral tones: it instantly disarms; a kind of ‘leave your worries at the door’ sort of vibe. It works.
The menu is very much on brand with a health focus: I plumped for a caffeine-free ‘super detox latte’ which was strangely satisfying. I say strange as I thought it was going to be pretty meh but, to my surprise, it was anything but – a life lesson in there I guess. Butler #2 had a vitamin boost smoothie and slurped it down so quickly that there was no need to question its quality.
Food-wise, their baked eggs (with rose harissa, sweet pepper, labneh and hazelnut dukkah) on sourdough is such a treat. It’s the perfect combo of being healthy and delicious. Butler #2 had a vegan breakfast and her ‘mmm’ sounds was all the feedback I needed.
It’s worth noting that the menu is pretty extensive and extends to things like healthy waffles, buckwheat pancakes, poke bowls, baked aubergine and alike. There are also sweet treats available like cookies, banana bread and chocolate tarts to name but a few. Oh, and all dietary requirements are catered for – a big plus point.
Overall, this is healthy brunching done in the right way. They don’t force anything on you; everything is subtle (from the decor through to the menu), and community is at the core of their vision. Nue Ground is sure to become a Clapham staple.
PUB GRUB GOES BOTTOMLESS
At the time of writing, you get unlimited Lost Lager, Brewdog Pale or Prosecco for two hours at £35. Oh, and a bunch main, which can include scampi & chips, sausage & mash, an avo & feta bowl, or one of their 4 burger options.
ONE WORD: PARTY
Blame Gloria is firmly in the ‘let your inhibitions go’ bottomless brunch camp. On steroids. I’m talking two hours of pure party mayhem featuring drag queens, singalongs, competitions and a shed load of booze.
You don’t come here for exquisite food; you get a fairly standard meal (we had halloumi burgers and chicken skewers). This is totally fine as it’s not pretending to cater to foodies. What it is, though, is a place to let yourself go and be unapologetically crazy. But not in a tw** sort of way.
Get your gladrags on, warm up your voice and get set to let loose. You can blame Gloria for tomorrow’s headache.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF PARTY TOWN
In a similar vein to Blame Gloria (it’s owned by the same company), Tonight Josephine champions the party life. As they put it themselves, “well-behaved women don’t make history. We are the Bande De Filles, Joséphine’s girl gang.”
What’s this got to do with bottomless brunch? Well, it’s unashamedly party town and this extends to brunch. Be it a Beyoncé drag lunch, Mamma Mia, musical sing-along or even a ‘now that’s what I call brunch’, get set for drag queens, karaoke, bottomless Prosecco, cocktails, and a lot of dancing.
The menu is very similar to Blame Gloria – so come here for the good times and leave your food critic attitude at the door.