As I explained in my first brunch post – expect this to be a regular feature! – I’m somewhat of a pilgrim of the antipodean cafe culture. When I lived in Sydney, I frequently based my entire weekend around my brunch plans. Living on my own in a brand new country (on the other side of the world), some weekends I would find myself with nothing to do, so I established a little Saturday morning routine. After a morning swim or sweat on the crosstrainer, I’d head up to the Queen Victoria Building to a small cafe in the middle of the concourse where they’d bring me a skim flat white and poached eggs on soy linseed toast with a side of spinach and tomatoes – I didn’t even have to ask for it by the time I left for London!
Australians are serious coffee drinkers. Their expertise and coffee snobbery far outstrips even the most committed of my coffee-craving friends in London. This is why you’ll only find a handful of Starbucks or equivalent coffee chains in Sydney – people just don’t go there. And, if you meet any expat Aussies in London, they will most likely willingly tell you of their seemingly never-ending search for “good coffee”. Londoners, though, seem to be catching up.
Hence the establishment of places like Milkbar, and its sister, Flat White. Their mission is to transport the Australian coffee shop to London – quintessentially hipster, with the simple focal point being a barista who knows what he’s doing. But they also come with all the added extras of a cafe that wants to deliver your personal perfect cup of joe. Bonsoy milk, almond milk, and a choice of beans from as far flung as Colombia to Rwanda.
To complement your coffee, you can choose from an array of sandwiches and bagels – including a B.L.A.T which I think is a fantastic improvement on the traditional B.L.T and became a lunchtime favourite of mine in Sydney. Since we were technically having brunch, I went for scrambled eggs with a side of spinach and smashed avocado, which was generously seasoned with coriander and lime. Extremely relaxed, a brilliant place to wile away the morning and forget you’re in the centre of Soho.