Much as I like a stroll over to Wanstead on a weekend morning, I’ve not ever really had a brunch that’s properly dazzled.
Until, that is, a truly phenomenal midday wrap the other Sunday. I enjoy the coffee at Bare Brew, perched on the high street opposite the war memorial, but have, perhaps strangely, never actually eaten there. A little hungover, the boyf and I found ourselves sitting in the window.
Incidentally, it’s not a place for the delicate-of-mind: rammed with buggies and yelping toddlers, as well as huge family groups all seemingly wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, the soaring decibels should by rights send morning-after victims screaming back into the fresh air.
But we stuck it out, aided by the a zingy pink grapefruit juice and a decent long black or two. Oh, and efficient service, despite its intense busy-ness. The LGBTQ flags are a good look, too.
The brunch menu is short, with Shakshuka and Turkish eggs the standouts, while an appetizing confit duck hash, which we both fancied, wasn’t on due to a chef shortage.
So, instead we shared two naan-bread wraps – unprepared for the mighty thwack of flavour soon to come our way.
The first was packed with smoked streaky bacon, an explosive orange-yolked Cacklebean fried egg, sweet tomato chilli jam, cream cheese and fresh coriander: an absolute taste sensation, the warm naan as comforting as a hug.
The second (vegetarian) option was slightly sweeter without the umami hit of the bacon, but its sensation of meatiness prevailed, courtesy of flat mushrooms, yet another Cacklebean fried egg, that tomato chilli jam again, and more cream cheese and coriander. We couldn’t quite decide which was more delicious.
The surprise factor of it all made it even more memorable – as it so often does. If you’re in Wanstead on the first Sunday of the month, the whole high street is lined with a huge row of streetfood stalls. But try to resist them and give in to the lure of what is surely one of E11’s finest pit stops. Follow @barebrew, 7 High St, Wanstead E11 2AA
5 more great brunch joints
This Leyton High Road institution has been feeding hangovers with Scottish-tinged haggis-laden toasties for nearly a decade.
Lovely eggs-and-avo spot on Grove Green’s pedestrianized corner that’s packed at weekends. When the sun’s out the space doubles with its various outdoor terraces.
There’s always room to bag a table at this all-day High Road trattoria and cafe, and the portions are huge, even an exploding smoked salmon cream cheese bagel (above). They’ll box up what you can’t eat, too.
Wild Goose Bakery and San Marino
Both these Leytonsone staples are always chocka, with solid brunch menus, tasty sweet treats, and quite lovely sun-catching pocket parks. And once the arctic weather subsides, stare at historic St John’s Church as you sip a strong black americano.
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