COFFEE & BRUNCH IN SOUTH WEST LONDON
Queenswood - A beautiful place to sit outside (in the hugely under-rated Battersea Square) during the summer and people-watch. Likewise, it boasts a pretty dining room inside for winter. They have an all-day menu here but brunch is exceptional particularly - if you fancy something different - the kedgeree.
Nutbourne - Nestled at the back of Ransome's Dock (incidentally home of a brand new Saturday market), you might not have even noticed its existence. It occupies a lovely spot just off the river, close to Albert Bridge, and has a fun interior. Again, it has an all-day menu (Sunday lunch is a highlight) but if you're looking for an organic, locally-sourced brunch spot with friends - this is the ticket!
London House - So Gordon Ramsay has leapt south of the river! Located in a beautiful old building on Battersea Square, I have heard both good and not so good things about this more 'informal' offering from the famously fearsome chef. My most recent experience here however was great, superb food and very friendly staff - I might have been slipped a free cocktail or two! It offers reasonably priced mains for brunch with a weekend special of bottomless prosecco/bloody mary plus main for two hours, all for £20.
Moka - An absolutely adorable coffee shop on Battersea High St. It doesn't have have a website right now so i'm linking to it's Instagram page instead (which makes you salivate). If you're passing on your way to Clapham Junction, be sure to pop in for a flat white, or, if you have more time, sit down for their VERY popular eggs and smashed avo.
Pear Tree Cafe - A must visit this summer for brunch! The perfect spot in Battersea Park to meet your friends on a sunny weekend morning. The coffee is delicious and the food every bit as good. My brother had beetroot pancakes on our last visit - my aim is to get through the entire menu before the summer is out! Also check out their Tues-Fri evening menu which they stay open for May through to September.
Ben's Canteen - These guys are the absolute experts in brunch. If you are hungover or needing to start the day with a bang - birthday celebration, job promotion etc - the Aussie-inspired food, cocktails and informal setting here are ideal. They have branches in Clapham Junction, Earlsfield and - much to my delight - will soon be opening in Battersea Power Station!
Social Pantry - An old-timer on London brunch blogs and a big favourite with TimeOut voters. It always delivers on quality and the cafe is even available for private hire should you have a hen-do or similar to arrange. You must also check out their website and blog to keep across their favourite recipes, current food trends and latest events.
Story Coffee - This makes the list as it's the nearest independent coffee shop to Clapham Junction. I can't stand railway/airport/high-street coffee chains so it's always good to know where you can grab that last-minute flat white for a long journey!
Tart - I must confess, I work in Clapham Common, so this coffee shop is unsurprisingly my very favourite. Anywhere that injects you with your daily dose of caffeine tugs on the heart strings - I know we all have that one place! I do think though that I can disregard the ease of location because this coffee shop is truly very special. Serving Volcano Coffee (yum), the most delicious tarts for breakfast (halloumi, avo, egg) and lunch (parma ham, pear, gorgonzola), this is a must-visit if you haven't already been. The girls that run it also write a fab weekly recipe in the ES Magazine.
Brickwood - Another Australian export makes the SW London cut. Conveniently located right outside Clapham Common tube, this is the best choice if you're trying to entice friends from different areas of the city together. On warm days there is a lovely outdoor walled-garden (with blankets if it's not so warm!), you'll be hard-pressed to find a better combo of coffee - Caravan, an Exmouth Market favourite - and homemade gluten-free orange & almond cake.
The Black Lab - Almost next-door neighbours with Brickwood, amazing takeaway coffee!
The Dairy & The Manor - I must be totally honest and say i've never been to either of these establishments (incidentally, both owned by the same people) for 'brunch', but, if their tasting menus are anything to go by, I can promise they will be well worth the outing and great if you're trying to make a good impression on someone! Make sure you book (available 10am-12pm) as they're hugely popular with London foodies.
Fields - Only open (I believe) during summer months. Housed in a non-descript little building by the skate park on Clapham Common, this is a lovely pit-stop for Workshop Coffee or a quirky alternative setting for a breakfast meeting.
Ground Coffee Society - The people behind this coffee shop really do take their coffee very seriously. It's a love and a science - with fabulous results. Their Caveman Coffee will have you hooked from the first sip. Thereafter make sure you order the Breakfast Burrito, perhaps ordering another coffee to go with it!
Brew - A couple of things make me slightly irate about this small chain of coffee shops-cafe-restaurants. The food is excellent, it really is, and the menus have a huge variety to please the fussiest of your friends... but... a) it is slightly over-priced (£4.50 for a side of spinach!) and b) the queues outside their Northcote Road location, in particular, are a real turn-off. The way to overcome this issue is to head to their Putney branch - which is much bigger than their Clapham/Wandsworth outposts - has a pretty sheltered outdoor area and means you can wander off for a post-brunch river walk.
The Olympic - My final recommendation is a place slightly out on a limb in the very West of the SW London area. But, I promise you, it is worth the extra journey - AND it's only a few stops on the overground from Clapham Junction! The Olympic was my location of choice for my birthday brunch last year and I have been for many breakfasts and suppers since. It is a real gem to spend a few hours in this dining room and you must must head up to the cinema to watch a film in red velvet luxury! If you really love it by the end of all this, you can become a paid-up member.
I know I will have missed so many off this list so if you have any great coffee or brunch tips for us ANYWHERE in London, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll head out to review!