Brunch at Norbert – London

Last weekend my mother was in town, and as you always do when a relative comes to visit London, you go for brunch. Most 20 or 30 something Londoners’ weekend life revolves around Friday evening drinks at the pub, Saturday morning brunches, Sunday roasts and ‘today I will eat healthy’ Mondays. Basically, brunch is an institution in the Big Smoke and a lot of places do it really well so competition is high.

We decided to go back to Noak in Brockley which we very much enjoyed! Upon arrival, we discovered that 1) the restaurant had been repainted and 2) the name had been changed to Norbert. Wait, what?

Norbert Brockley London

Noak was no more and had been replaced by its British brother Norbert. We headed in anyway as we were hungry and a bit curious. The interior remains very similar to what Noak’s used to look like. The waiters were with us straight away and efficient to take our orders and serve food, which in full honesty is where Noak wasn’t great. The previous team was on the slower and more disorganised side, so there have definitely been improvements there!

The Nordic-inspired breakfast platters seemed to have left with Noak but Norbert brunch menu looked promising, British classics made with local products.

We ordered coffees which were good! (not always the case in London)

Norbert coffee

My mum went for the vegetarian full-English served with halloumi and avocados. It was tasty and filling, just what a full-English breakfast is supposed to do!

Norbert vegetarian full-english

Both Andrew and I went for the poached eggs served on sourdough bread with wild mushrooms and Bayonne ham. It was really good! I was genuinely impressed, the products were flavoursome and fresh.

Norbert wild mushrooms eggs

What struck me too is how good the plates looked. You can tell that the people in the kitchen have some sort of gastro/fine-dining experience. So I googled them and discovered that the head chef has worked at Michelin starred The Galvin Brothers at La Chapelle. Not bad at all!

So for those of you who knew Noak and have yet to try Norbert, I can confirm that it is a bit of an upgrade! Noak had that lovely little local coffee eatery atmosphere, Norbert offers a more elevated restaurant-like experience but still at a decent (London) price.

Norbert restaurant indoor London

My only regret? The cinnamon rolls are gone! People of Norbert, if you read this post, please, please, please consider bringing the cinnamon rolls back!

A great unplanned (re)discovery and a new potential favourite local brunch spot!

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Brunch at Sparrow – London

I have been a Londoner for seven years now. Five of them were spent in my beloved Shepherd’s Bush and the last two have been spent in Lewisham.

If you are from out of town, you probably have never heard of Lewisham, or if you have it would probably be because of the fire station scene in Bridget Jones. If you are living in London you may probably think “Lewisham, oh dear, is that even safe?”. Lewisham has not the best reputation, I will give you that. It is still very much at the early stages of ‘up and coming’ but you cannot beat the prices when you are looking for a house to buy in London.

Slowly but surely though, there have been some nice little places opening making Lewisham city centre less gritty, one of them is Sparrow.

Sparrow Lewisham

We had been to Sparrow before, but it was for dinner straight off the plane from Japan, and with the jet-lag we weren’t really able to fully appreciate the meal. So this review is only about their brunch and I guess I will have to visit again to let you know about the dinner (life is hard).

We headed mid-morning to Lewisham roundabout where Sparrow is. The area is being fully redeveloped and you will find Sparrow squeezed between a shopping centre and a development site. It doesn’t sound great, but never judge a book by its cover!

Inside, the place is how you would expect any trendy restaurant in Shoreditch to look like. Subway tiles, open kitchen, young friendly staff, overall a very pleasant atmosphere.

Sparrow Lewisham

The menu is very interesting too, between the traditional full-English breakfast and the eggs Benedict, you will find some more surprising dishes inspired by Sri Lanka cuisine, such as poori masala and appam.

Sparrow brunch menu

We placed our order – one full-English for him, one appam for me.

The full-English was beautiful, with vibrant colours and great flavours! One very satisfying breakfast.

Sparrow full-English breakfast

I didn’t know what to expect with the appam, having never had one. It was delicious! Appam is similar to a pancake and made with fermented rice and coconut milk. Light, crispy and fluffy, with delicious flavours of coconut milk, a very nice discovery if you are not too hungry.

Sparrow appam

With that we ordered the fresh juice and smoothy of the day, which were exactly what we needed after a little too many drinks the night before.

Sparrow juice and smoothie of the day

Slowly but surely, Lewisham is finally becoming a destination Londoners go to for a good meal! We will need many more nice eateries to compete with trendy East London of course, but with places like Sparrow, I think we will be just fine!

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People watching

When in New York go for brunch at The Spotted Pig. The restaurant is old school and cosy. The burgers are to die for, and I am obsessed with their shoestring fries and everything else on the menu!

NYC – 2012

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