In my head, ’90s New York, the New York of Sex and the City and boxy cabs and boxy jackets, was a city that ran on brunch. London has always struggled to zone the laid back and yet achingly cool vibe required for a good brunch and has been forced to make do with cafe culture and time on Sundays pouring over the papers.
Well, this week I discovered the new brunch revival in London. Maida Vale for a while now has been undergoing a coffee shop revolution – the whole of Clifton Gardens having sprung up with new coffee institutions in the last five years or so. Now it’s slightly shabbier cousin of a road, Elgin Avenue, has begun an equally exciting revival.
The Elgin is a cross between a gentleman’s smoking club, a Spitalfields bar and a country pub with a nonchalant, effortlessly cool and laid back vibe that is so hard to truly find without feeling try-hard. The staff are bubbly and excitable, passionate about the area and the place they work.
We are served perfectly bitter sweet coffees to start our mornings, each handmade and finished with different designs in the foam. The breakfast menu is the kind of fantastic list that my fantasy brunch would contain: buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, banana and bacon; potato cakes with avocado, bacon and tomato; scrambled eggs with smoked salmon.
I order my decadently extravagant American breakfast of pancakes and request more coffee. I wile away the time waiting for my order enjoying the atmosphere of The Elgin.
Open from early to late, The Elgin has branded itself as somewhere for you at any point in your day – as you run for the tube at Maida Vale there are takeaway coffees and pastries all the way through to the gastropub that forms at night serving fashionable meats such as boar with vintage ciders and local beers. The mixture of day to night works extremely well – a balance that is usually so hard to find but here is done with ease.
My pancakes arrive, buttery soft with super crispy salty bacon, freshly chopped bananas and an entire jug of maple syrup to use as I wish. I drench my pancakes in it and the sweet, crispy, salty, soft meal makes me entirely forget any stress my day had in front of it. By the end of my enormous plate of pancakes I am already checking the opening times to ensure I can come back again and again. This is a brunch revolution and I have excitedly thrown myself at this new trend with full gusto.
So take two hours out, devour the most phenomenal brunch you can remember and join the revolution: brunch is back.
255 Elgin Avenue
Tel: 020 7625 5511