Carousel in Florence

OMG it’s like I’m an actual gosh darn travel blogger. If it makes you feel any better, I shamelessly stole 60% of these recommendations from the hot guy we rented the apartment from (seriously, he had foppish hair and bad tattoos, I blushed and stammered when we picked up the keys). Anyway, if you are heading to Florence for a few days these should be all you need. And I don’t have photos for most of them because I am an awesome blogger who was more focused on eating EVERYTHING.

For a takeaway lunch

Round the corner from the Accademia (where Michelangelo’s David lives) is a little lunch bar called Pugi where you can get the best cured meat & cheese, or tomato and mozzarella sandwiches. They are in this bread that is caked in salt and are exactly what you need after spending four hours on a tour of Mr David. You take a number, order inside (they have kick ass tarts as well) and then pay by the door.

For wine by the riverSignorvino is a wine shop and wine bar

Signorvino is a wine shop and wine bar with a terrace that overhangs the river. I thought this little bar was going to be a serious tourist trap but rather annoyingly it was excellent (I hate being proven wrong). If you pre-book or are very lucky you can get one of the tables outside on the terrace and get the perfect view of Ponte Vecchio.

For gelatoBest Gelato in Florence

There is gelato everywhere in Florence and I made it my mission to try it all. My favourite by far was Gelato Santa Trinita on the next bridge over from Ponte Vecchio and judging by the line out the door others agreed. Yes it is a little bit of a walk, but the flavours are subtle and the servings are generous. My must try flavour from there is melon which was as close to the nectar of the gods as I can imagine – and I don’t even like melon.

For authentic pastaBest pasta in Florence

I was only in Florence for a week and we went to Acqua Al 2 three times. THREE TIMES. The pasta was out of this world and the beef carpaccio actually made my family speechless it was so good. The couple that run it were hysterical, they were so lovely to us and managed to squeeze us in every time we turned up without a reservation but with a burning hunger for pasta in our eyes.

For cocktails and fancy food

Ok, the Fusion Restaurant & Bar is a little spenny, but if you can’t afford it just walk by the hotel to see the pinwheel art installation on the side of the building – they spin in the breeze and are 100% adorable. If you are celebrating on the other hand then the Japanese/Peruvian tapas are fantastic and the cocktails are (from what I can remember) beautiful.

For brunchDitta in Florence

It can’t be a Runawaykiwi list without a brunch option, so head down to Ditta Artigianale for your fix. The coffee is stand out, and you have to try the weird pastry they have that looks like a croissant outside but actually has rice and custard in the middle.

Ditta weird rice thing in Florence

London brunch spots that I love

I am a brunch fiend. When you ask what plans I have for the weekend I will inevitably just give you names of cafes. I have so many to recommend that I was starting to stress myself out about all the posts I had to write, so instead I thought I would just do a roundup of some of  my current favorites.

Enjoy!

The brunch train is always moving in London, this post was originally published on May 4th 2015 and has most recently been updated in April 2016.

xx

Sunday Cafe

Sunday Cafe London

Y’all know my usual policy on queuing up for food in London, so you know Sunday must be good since I waited for half an hour outside IN WINTER  to taste the delectable brunch. Keep an eye out on their Instagram for their latest menu (it changes every weekend), but think brunch classics all with a mouth watering twist. Well worth the wait.

 

Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam and Jetsam

I Instagram stalked these guys for AGES. A neighborhood cafe that puts so much care into their dishes that it feels like you are at a Zone 1 restaurant. Think innovative flavours and ‘can’t help but photograph’ plating, like the eggs benedict with a espresso brown butter hollandaise.

 

Milk

IMG_2769

Milk in Balham is one of the most Instagrammed brunch places in London. They have a pretty innovative menu, but it is the ‘pancake of the day’ specials that are the real star. When I went (photo above) it was lime, marshmallow and hobnob pancakes that caught my eye and then made me weep tears of food joy. Very popular, but if you are lucky you can snag a table outside in the sunshine.

 

Granger and Co.

Granger and Co pancakes

I have dreams about Granger and Co. ricotta pancakes, DREAMS. They are topped with a ridiculously good honeycomb butter and might just change your life. Granger and Co is stupidly popular (word about the butter has got out) but if you turn up at 10am you should get a table straight away, half an hour later and you will be queuing in the rain.

 

Story Coffee

Story Coffee Clapham

Sitting at the top of that damn hill in Clapham, Story Coffee is that moment of calm in your day. I was at first a little alarmed at how healthy their pancakes sounded (quinoa pancakes with whipped ricotta, apple and toasted coconut) but blow me down they were good.

 

Friends of Ours

Friends of ours hoxton

Another neighbourhood cafe that just kicks ass. The menu is classic brunch options with unique flavours thrown in to liven up your weekend (beautiful colours on the plate too). Well worth putting up with the high hipster content.

 

Modern Pantry (Finsbury Square)

Modern Pantry Waffles

This is a grown up brunch spot, think hushed waiters and you can actually book. Lets be honest, it was the booking aspect that first grabbed me (I like knowing that I can actually get a seat) but it was the waffles that has kept me coming back every time. Oh those waffles, the waffles of kings – savory and sweet at the same time and made from dates, feta, sweetcorn and spring onion…excuse me while I drool.

 

Grounded Coffee Company

Grounded Coffee Company

A good traditional ‘Aussie’ style cafe (I don’t actually know if they are owned by Aussies or not, its just the vibe), consistently good coffee and poached eggs. Only downside is the lack of bacon on the menu.

 

Blixen

Blixen London

I think I need some sort of affiliate scheme for Blixen because I recommend so many people to go there. Again its a cafe that you can book (thank the lord), and has very colonial decor. The staff are always lovely and are willing to cater to my consistent demand to swap out the spinach for avocado on the poached egg potato rosti – cheers team.

 

Brickwood Coffee

Brickwood Coffee

A firm south of the river favorite, Brickwood is always buzzing. I would recommend going in summer when you can sit outside in their courtyard and take your time over their full on brunch options.

 

Hubbard and Bell

Hubbard and Bell

This is the resident restaurant of the Hoxton Hotel in Holborn. It might just be the day I visited but they were super chilled out and happy for me to sit and blog while drinking endless rounds of coffee. Nice addition is the light options (like the ricotta honey and mint toast above) alongside the traditional brunch so their is something for everyone. I like this place so much I am actually considering staying in the hotel for a night just so I can wake up to Hubbard and Bell.

 

London Grind

London Grind

This is the best boozy brunch place of them all. First its amazing that you can book (a rarity in London), second the location in London Bridge means that almost anyone can get there no matter what tubes are down for the weekend and lastly…Flat White Russians. Yes you heard me, flat white cocktails. Unlike most boozy brunch places that just go for unlimited (and mostly watered down) prosecco, Grind is all about those coffee cocktails. Brunch, drink and be merry.

 

Lantana

Lantana Corn Fritters

BEST CORN FRITTERS IN LONDON. Very Australian cafe with consistently good food, I should know I’ve had their corn fritters once every couple of months for the last two years. Oh and they do proper fatty streaky bacon #swoon.

 

Hoi Polloi

Hoi Polloi Ace Hotel

This is the center of all that is hipster in London, the Ace Hotel. But once you get through the Apple powered, beard drenched lobby and into the Mad Men style Hoi Polloi restaurant all is forgiven. When we sat down for a late Sunday brunch the cello quartet was playing a Madonna remix, the perfect ironic background to the cocktails and pancakes we scoffed feeling like the girls from Sex in the City.

 

Attendant Coffee

Attendant Cafe Brunch

This cafe is a sister to Attendant Coffee, the cafe in an old Victorian bathroom. Supersized and in the heart of Shortditch this cafe has space for brunchers and coffee drinkers alike. Their corn fritters were a bit anemic (more like pancakes with corn in, rather than a true fritter) but the flavours were Oh My God incredible, so I wouldn’t hesitate on a return visit.

 

Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room

Now this place is old school brasserie in London, the kind of joint you would take a mobsters parents when you were trying to impress. A bit fancier than your standard brunch (it is based in the Rosewood hotel after all) but the service is 5 star impeccable. What I was most shocked by is that we were there for two hours and they were totally chill and didn’t even try to push us out. I liked that they offered a half size eggs benedict option which meant I could indulge in the goats curd and pomegranate as well.

 

Workshop Coffee Company

Workshop Coffee Brunch

 

Workshop is some of the best coffee in London and their brunch is of a similar high standard. My only advice is to avoid the corn fritters, its like they deep fry them which gives a weird crunchy outer – probably fine as long as you are not a kiwi purist. Very cool branding (love the diamond), well designed cafe, high sharing tables and very buzzy.

 

Duck and Waffle

Duck and Waffle Full Elvis

Not just a fancy feast, you can actually get in and out for under £10 if you order correctly. Its a great place to go if you need to clear your head and get some perspective on London, and the amazing food helps as well. I’ve tried a few things off the brunch menu and by far the namesake Duck and Waffle is my favorite (the full Elvis was just a little too much for me).

 

Embassy East

Embassy East Brunch

A lovely neighborhood cafe (makes me wish I lived in the neighborhood!) that does all the brunch classics exactly how they should be. They also have a great selection of toasted sandwiches, you know a place was started by kiwis when you get a toasty! Spot on coffee and a place I will be heading to time and time again.

 

Trade

Trade Cholla Roll

Raaa I love this place. Mostly because they will give me a bacon roll with a poached egg on top at any time of the day, but also because of the ever changing salads and sunny garden out the back. If you go you have to save room for their salted caramel brownie, so so good.

 

Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Bourne and Hollingsworth Building London

B&H inside is all white with tropical fabrics, and a bar that you can brunch at if you are on your own. I love that their big breakfast is mix and match (so you get the bits you like), the drop scones with different toppings, and of course a gin and earl grey breakfast cocktail.

 

Caravan Kings Cross

Caravan Kings Cross

If you want somewhere to spend five hours and graduate from flat whites to espresso martinis then Caravan is the place to be. Generally hopeless service (I think its just because there are SO many tables, they can’t be that attentive) but damn good food. And that it is close to Kings Cross which is convenient for everyone is a bonus.

 

Find a flat white in London

Treats from Visit Jersey

So you know, there I was dreaming of an island escape and damn hungry to boot when all of a sudden the island of Jersey offered to send me some treats. Now normally if a stranger offers to send you food you say no and back slowly away (this is London after all). But when that stranger is an island just off the coast of Normandy that is famous for its BLACK BUTTER…you say yes and then cancel all your plans so you can hang out by your front door waiting for it to be delivered.

Jersey Black Butter

So black butter, can we talk about black butter? Holy shit it has changed my life. It looks like a reduced jam type thing, and it tastes like someone managed to reduced the essence of Christmas and put it in a jar. Ok ok the official description is “Peeled and cored apples are cooked down with black treacle, liquorice, cider, brown sugar and spices. This is then cooked slowly over an open gas flame, stirring continuously for several hours.” aka ALL THE GOOD THINGS. In the parcel was an entire jar of the stuff, I totally intended to do some baking but have eaten half of the damn jar by putting it on crackers with some mature cheddar. But I totally got away with not baking since Jersey also introduced me to the best brownies I have ever eaten.

Stop reading this post right now and go and order these brownies: http://www.zoes-kitchen.com/products/brownie-tray

I’ll wait.

Jersey Zoes Kitchen Brownies

Seriously those Zoes kitchen brownie bites are like crack. Best I can describe is that they are halfway between brownies and fudge. They have this hidden flavour that just made me weak at the knees. My original intention was to share. This did not happen. I ate the entire box in two days.

Visit Jersey Salted Caramel Sauce

After how quickly I got through the sweet treats (there was also a bag of fudge!) I have made an awesome plan for some of the other goodies: Christmas. The salted caramel sauce I think needs to be part of some sort of decadent Christmas Cocktail, and the G’lee d’Jerri I think HAS to be saved for a roast pork. Man I can’t wait for Christmas.

Thank you so much Visit Jersey for my happy little bundle of treats.
This post is part of the Visit Jersey campaign.

Orphans Kitchen Brunch

Because what is a trip to Auckland without a serious amount of brunch? Two highlights for me were Orphans Kitchen in Ponsonby and Dear Jervois on Jervois Road, both suggested by my big sister. As mentioned before in New Zealand it’s not about just getting the poached eggs right, its all about brunch innovation. I genuinely can’t think of a café in London that even comes close to matching these two in the innovation stakes. I think you could say that Duck and Waffle et al are comparable food wise, but they are high concept restaurants, these Auckland beauties are just humble cafes. Humble cafes that kick the London offering to the curb.

Orphans Kitchen

My visit to Orphans Kitchen got off to a sunny and entertaining start. The table next to us was obviously a group of old friends, but when the waiter went over to take their order there was a shriek and hugs all around. Turns out one of the group had just come back from overseas, but instead of a normal off the plane welcome had decided to pose as a waiter in Orphans Kitchen to surprise them, super cute.

Brunch at Orphans Kitchen Auckland

The food here was tricky, I honestly couldn’t find anything I wanted on the menu. Talk about innovation, there was no easy ‘poached eggs with bacon’ offering here, and I just couldn’t picture the end product from what was on the menu. But getting hangry I let my sister choose for me, and by gods it was good. Mum went for the breakfast panna cotta with kiwifruit and buffalo milk (why had no one thought of a breakfast panna cotta before?!?!), my sister for the black rice pudding with tamarillo, blood orange, and banana (above) and chosen for me was the  roasted avocado with bacon, feijoa and vine tomatoes…heaven.

Dear Jervois

Dear Jervois brunch

Dear Jervois was an interesting one, I LOVED it and my parents had the opposite view. It was all down to how busy it was. In London I am 100% used to battling the crowds to get to food, and while I refuse to wait for brunch I find sitting cheek by jowl totally normal. My parents however are used to the kiwi luxury of a more peaceful spaced out brunch, which is not what you get at the very popular Dear Jervois.

Dear Jervois sage fried eggs

But as always the food is most important. Well maybe not the coffee is important to and we had to send back the first round because they were cold. Eh. Anyway the food was yum, the highlight for me was the sage fried eggs that just did something stratospheric to my taste buds. I would have married those eggs if I could. And the interior was beautiful, for those who did have to wait they wrote their names in a chalk pen on the tiled wall. Love.

Oh and the second round of coffee was AMAZING.

Dear Jervois coffee