As you may know, I’m always on the lookout for a good brunch. I recently listed some of my favourite brunch spots, which included the fabulous M1LK in Balham, and last weekend I visited their sister cafe on Clapham Common…Fields.
Fields doesn’t necessarily look like a cafe from the outside but don’t let that put you off. Situated right next to the skateboard park on Clapham Common, just a few minutes walk from Clapham Common tube station, its basically an outdoor terrace. We were lucky that it was a bright, crisp Autumn morning. Nevertheless, we were still grateful of the overhead heaters as we sat down…yes, that’s right, we arrived and were immediately given a table. Maybe we were lucky, but there was no queue which is in sharp contrast to M1LK’s endless and painful queue.
Its quite frankly astonishing that en route to Fields we passed an insanely long queue outside The Breakfast Club on Battersea Rise. I have never heard anything good about the food there and have never had any inclination to want to stand in a queue that long for something I can make myself at home. On one hand I want to yell at all those people who have left their warm beds to stand outside in the cold for god knows how long, just to have breakfast cooked for them at that specific place when there are so many better places within walking distance. But on the other hand, I don’t want the queues to get any longer at the really good places, so I’m kind of glad they’re all blindly queuing like sheep along Battersea Rise. Anyway, I digress…
My friend Kate and I perused the menu, got recommendations from our waiter and ‘instructions’ on how the place works. Like M1LK, you order and pay at the till, giving your table number. The food and drink comes out when its ready. We pretty much wanted everything on the menu so we decided to have three dishes between us.
Inside, there’s just a counter, a coffee machine, a slushy machine and a kitchen out back. On said counter were some sweet treats to tempt you even more. (My friend Naomi who I bumped into while I was there said the Anzac biscuits were delicious.) I ordered our food and drinks and headed back outside.
Within minutes our tea and coffee arrived, along with the sloe gin and tonic slushy I couldn’t resist ordering…
The first dish to arrive on the table was the buttermilk biscuits with peat smoked trout, whipped miso honey and crème fraîche. (£9.20)
This dish really hit the spot. The biscuits were rich, yet light and crumbly, the trout was perfectly smoked and flaky and that miso honey…! Incredible. The balance of those flavours with the crème fraîche to lighten it up was insanely good. It seemed to be a favourite as I noticed it on every table around us.
Just as I was thinking it couldn’t get better, the most incredibly light and fluffy omelette of ceps, burnt cream, crispy leeks and smoked pine nuts turned up. (£8.90)
This is pretty much my idea of heaven on a plate. Had I been on my own I would have inhaled it in seconds. As it was, I was trying to eat like a ‘normal’ and polite human being and therefore took more time over it. Either way, it would have been delicious. Again, there appeared to be an omelette on every table around us.
For a little bit of sweetness at the end, we had the homemade crumpets with hay-smoked goats curd and Wandsworth honey. (£7.50)
Light and fluffy with a crispiness round the edges, these crumpets were gloriously soaked in butter. As the crumpets gave way to the knife cutting into them, you could see the butter and honey oozing out the top of the tiny holes. The honey was rich and sticky, the goats curd was light enough to cut through the indulgent butteriness (is that a word?) of the crumpets. It was the perfect end to the perfect brunch.
To be honest, I think if I had only had one dish I would have left still feeling rather hungry, so I’m glad I was with someone who was happy to share those three dishes. However, when I go back…and I will definitely be going back…I will need to be having more than that. The trouble with finding dishes you love, is you want to keep having them, and you’re therefore tied to those dishes for ever more. Not that its a great hardship of course, there are worse things in life! But it does stop you from venturing through the rest of the menu. I would need to still have those three dishes next time…and then another one (or two) to try out something new. Anyone fancy joining me?