In my mission to uncover south London's best vegan and vegan-friendly eateries that I embarked on before MoFo kicked off (yes, this post has been sitting around that long), I thought I'd take myself off to Dulwich.
It's not a corner of London I often visit, given as it's an area for the more affluent folk south of the river. You'd think that the existence of a veggie restaurant there, the Blue Brick Cafe, would be enough to drag me into the chi-chi district, but the cafe has only the most rudimentary menu on its website and it's not really clear how much of what it serves is vegan friendly. But when I unearthed a breakfast menu on Zomato promising a vegan full English, I could resist its pull no longer.
After an overly-long bus journey to reach the Blue Brick Cafe, located on a side street off Dulwich's main drag Lordship Lane things looked promising. It's a nice looking place, done up in the style you'd expect of the area - mismatched furniture, cute knicknacks, and the blue tiles that cover the cafe, and presumably lend it its name, give it a cheerful hippy air. There's even a few outdoor tables for diners to catch any passing ray of London sun.
The service was cheerful but slow - getting two cups of black coffee took rather longer you'd expect given the number of folks inside, but when you're outdoors and that south London sun is shining, you won't find yourself minding too much.
Both me and Mr Flicking the Vs opted for that full vegan breakfast - homemade baked beans, mushroom, spinach, tomato, bubble and squeak and a veggie sausage. Here's what arrived for us:
Note: everything looks a bit dark due to the sun disappearing behind a cloud when it came to picture time! That may have been a pathetic fallacy at work - sadly the breakfast promised good things, but didn't get everything right. The mushrooms had been overcooked, and had begun to go floppy and leech grey water over the plate. The bubble and squeak was also a bit on the wet side, leading to slightly damp feel to the breakfast.
There wasn't much in the way of the advertised spinach either - perhaps it had called in sick and the mushrooms had stepped in to cover its shift. There were a lot of mushrooms.
On the other hand, the toast and the veggie sausage were clear winners. The toast was a beautifully crisp sourdough, and the sausage had that vague taste of stuffing that made me yearn for those packet mixes that were most people's source of veggie bangers a long, long time ago. They were herby, flavoursome, and comforting - as the cornerstone of any brekkie should be. On the lunch menu, there was chick pea stew featuring those sausages - I'll be back to try that before too long.
As we went to the till to settle our breakfast bill, I spotted a vegan lemon and lavender drizzle cake, and pocketed a slice for later.
I was glad I did. Given the curate's egg of a breakfast, I was astonished at just how good the cake was - a mixture of fairy-light sponge and a crisp icing top, the sour of the lemon and the sweet of the cake making a happy duet.
If you're a lavender fan, this is one for you, but those unfortunate types that claim it gives everything a whiff of an old lady's sock drawer may prefer to give it a wide berth. (Note: if you're in the latter camp, you're missing out.)
I'm not often in Dulwich, but you can bet every time I am, I'll be dropping in at the Blue Brick Cafe for some coffee and cake.
Blue Brick Cafe
14 Fellbrigg Rd
020 8299 8670