Victoria Park, Crown Gate West E9 7DE
0208 980 0030
AKA: Breakfast in the park? Well, aren't you fancy...
The deal: When Chomping Ground was growing up, dining in a park cafe meant one of two things. 1) scrabbling together enough money for a packet of Hula Hoops, a Twix and a 20p mug of builders 2) Buying a cup of 20p tea and decanting a lurid bottle of 2020 into said empty cup. Look, the Parklife that Blur sang of wasn't up to much in Norwich, OK? Thankfully, times have moved on from that. And when the sun is shining and you're up with the birds, there really isn't a better place to grab breakfast in Viccy Park. There's indoor seating in the pavilion (hence the name) but the real treat seats are outside, perched beside the pretty boating lake as you wait for your avocado on sourdough toast to be delivered. Maybe this was what Damon and co meant...
The food: No curling-at-the-edges egg sarnies here, thanks. Because the cafe is headed up by Rob Green (formerly of the excellent Elliot's Cafe in Borough Market), there's an expansive range of delicious, fresh brunching options and some with an Aussie or Asian twist. Their classic fry-up is £9.50 and is a full plate of all the breakfast favourites. Then there's our old egg pals Benedict (£9), Florentine (£8) or Royale (£9.5) - just don't ask us to choose our favourite - it's like choosing which of your children you prefer. The Sri Lankan breakfast (£9.5) blew us away - egg and potato curry, dhal, coconut sambal and string hoppers (noodles) all working together to create a hearty and unexpected meal to start the day with. Moving on to some of the sharing plates for lunch (£5 each) and we loved the range of flavours and unusual dishes of chickpea and raisin tabbouleh with chilli cashew cream; the contrast of the baked almond polenta cubes with a sundried tomato and caper pesto and a comforting bowl of white bean, spinach and coconut stew. P.S. check out the daily cake specials, too (with your mouth).
The signature dish: The Sri Lankan breakfast is pretty special, or if that's not on the menu then the Eggs Benedict is a decent second choice.
When to dine: Mornings and lunches only - we'd recommend mid-week breakfasts as it's rammed come the weekend. Closes at 4pm weekdays and 5pm on weekends.
Damage to pocket: With the cafe focusing on breakfast fare, nothing's more expensive than a tenner, so with a coffee you're looking at under £15 for a breakfast of kings.
File under: Weekenders, Brunching, Great with mates, Cheap chomps