REVIEW: Brunswick House Cafe, Vauxhall
10:00am Monday 20th February 2012 in Food - Reviews
The Brunswick House Cafe is an unlikely restaurant. It is housed on the edge of a huge roundabout, opposite Vauxhall bus station in the annexe of the Lassco architectural salvage building. You sit underneath chandeliers, (which are for sale) in a room with a fake stage set, at quirkily arranged, rickety tables amidst organised chaos.
I first visited a few months ago and had a shocker of a time. The staff were rude, inattentive and over half the menu was unavailable and what is worse it was the good half. I have since heard very good things and was willing to put my first experience down to a bad day and decided to return.
This time things could not have been more different, when we arrived the staff proffered a cheery greeting, quickly found us a table and set down menus – what a relief. As a matter of course a large jug of tap water is brought, gold star in my book is no attempt at up selling the bottled stuff.
We went at about 2.30 on a Saturday afternoon and they were serving a brunch menu. It was tough as there was nothing I didn’t want to order, from sourdough rhubarb doughnuts with crème fraiche to English muffin, old spot sausages, egg and hash brown. We opted for the baked ham hock, boston beans and watercress (£8.80) and haggis, “Swedish Petit Pana”, pickled beetroot and fried egg (£8.80).
The ham hock was a porky dream, a generous serving of meat, slow cooked and falling apart, sat on top of boston beans. The beans were cooked in a deep meaty stock, with a flavour so intense I couldn’t believe my taste buds. It had crunchy breadcrumbs on top providing texture and watercress on the side which lightened the dish and balanced it out.
The haggis was also a stroke of flavour balancing genius, every element on the dish earning its place and making the finished product better for its presence. Oaty haggis and fried egg, are already a match made in heaven, throw in some potatoes mixed with caramelised onions and you get a step closer, top that off with fresh earthy beetroot and you’re there.
Brunswick House Cafe does not do subtle cooking, it does the kind of cooking that slaps you round the face with big flavour, it does the kind of cooking I love. I may even take my chances and go a third time...
Brunch for two - £25
Evening menu for two - £60
Brunswick House 30 Wandsworth Road Vauxhall SW8 2LG
Mark Bixter is a food writer who runs the blog michelinmicrowave.wordpress.com