I don’t need to repeat myself as to how difficult it is to find a good Aussie brunch here in London. We keep returning to Salon in Brixton (review) as they seem to be ablate do a few select dishes very well. But on this occasion we had need to take the parents-in-law out for a local brunch in South East London.
Overlooking the lovely Brockwell Lido, The Lido Cafe makes the best of its prime position poolside. On a warm day you could believe you’re surrounded by a hell of a lot of English people who feel that it’s necessary to whip out their beach towels and lie prostrate on a brick floor surrounding the pool whenever it’s sunny in South London – and you’d be right. It’s as weird to me as seeing locals stripping down out of their suits to sunbake during their lunch hour. But it’s the vibe and this vibe is felt throughout the cafe on the boarders of Brixton and Herne Hill.
The lido itself is a Grade 2-listed Art Deco ‘beauty’, built in 1937. It’s a locals’ secret kind of place and we stumbled upon it when we first moved to Camberwell around and always said we should come back to do a proper visit. Should you head down on a Sunday I suggest taking a stroll around the Herne Hill Market to grab a coffee and then return after your visit to The Lido Cafe as the market is closing up to bag yourself a bargain.
Reading up on The Lido Cafe I had heard that it was a little ‘tired’, and that may have been the case a few years ago because it is an absolute beauty now. Trying to ensure everyone gets a dose of colour in January I love the setting inside out of the cold. The retro posters also add a touch of yesteryear that had many people at surround tables asking where they could pick up a print for themselves to take home with them.
We were here for the new All Day Brunch fix that we had heard about and it started in typical fashion with a Marmalade Breakfast Negroni which was the perfect foil for the night before. Both sweet and savoury but perfectly balanced I am more a fan of this drink than any other morning cocktail I’ve had in London. Coffee is by the New Zealand coffee group Allpress and the father-in-law who is an ex-roaster back in the day was surprised how good it was. Things were going well.
We finally also found a place that *didn’t* return to our table after attempting to order the eggs florentine to tell us that they had run out of hollandaise. As this is a newly launched menu they have taken feedback on board and added sections so you can mix and match sides – which we did to add some delicate smoked salmon to the mix.
It was then the toss-up for either the Full English or the Strongman’s Breakfast – the latter having black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes AND beans added to the mix. Plates of the Full were hitting tables all around us and we decided to follow the trend. Having had run out of bacon we opted for an additional sausage to round out the dish. Very generous portions were keeping everyone at the table very happy.
As I have a healthy aversion to eggs my eyes were drawn to the appetising Dry Aged Longhorn Burger in a brioche bun with gherkin, tomato, onions, marmalade, chipotle mayo and twice cooked chips. Perfectly cooked and with tangy juices rolling down my arm I succumbed to pairing it with the chocolate milkshake (which was better than a country mile than the most recent shake I had at Pedler in Peckham).
I have to say that The Lido Cafe has what we Aussies like to call The Vibe needed to pull off a great brunch venue. To also learn it’s open through lunch (and will soon be opening for dinner with some exciting evening pop ups in the works) as well after seeing what the kitchen team is capable of, it’s safe to say that this won’t be our only visit back to The Lido Cafe. Who knows, I might even bring my towel with me to secure a square of cement for myself once the cold departs our shores. Though do ensure you book a table to save yourself a wait!
Need more reasons to visit The Lido Cafe?
Starting this Thursday 11th February with Thai chef Tem Ban, the kitchen takeovers will run every Thursday and Friday night and offer diners the chance to enjoy a regularly rotating array of diverse cuisines in a truly unique setting.
Contact: The Lido Cafe – The Lido Cafe, Dulwich Rd, London SE24 0PA. Ph. Website