There are so many places to eat in London that if you’ve spent any time visiting or living here, you’ll know that there are times you find yourself in one of two predicaments; a) you end up going back to the same places you’ve been to before because you know you’ll get something you enjoy there (I’m talking to you Salvation Jane, you delicious little minx) or b) you end up staying in and eating cereal out of the box because the choice is just too overwhelming and if you go here it might be good but what if over there is better and you’ve missed out or what if neither are any good and you’ve wasted time and money in arguably the world’s busiest city and aaaaaagggghhhhhhh, it’s all just too much so pass me the Crunchy Nut and let’s forget the whole thing!
Either of these scenarios sound familiar? Ever experienced one or the other?
Yeah, I see ya. I hear ya. Sometimes, too much choice makes us wish we had less to begin with. It’s a first world problem but I’m here to give you one solution – the Wildflower Cafe in Notting Hill. Beyond charming with service as genuine & welcoming as if you were their best friend and not a hungry stranger, the only thing lovelier than the ambience is the food which is, frankly, a sincere & utter pleasure to eat.
Cafe and enchanting florist during daylight hours and cosy bistro once the sun goes down, the Wildflower, as they so proudly (and rightfully so) proclaim, has been voted Notting Hill’s number 1 cafe and dozens of online reviews lay testament to this fact; in short, it’s the perfect place for a long overdue Saturday brunch with a fellow drama school surviving girlfriend. Hey, once you’ve jazz handed your way round the stage to a Sondheim medley, you’re friends for life trust me.
The Wildflower was created and run by siblings one of whom, along with the head chef, is a graduate of Leiths, which goes some way to explaining the menu which boasts inventive and simple takes on both traditional and modern ingredients.
Bowler hats made a quirky change from the light bulbs that currently hang in most establishments and a scattering of prints, lanterns and blooms made it inviting and fresh, like a cross between a funky living room and the sort of offbeat gift shop that makes you want to spend a fortune on gorgeous things you never knew you wanted.
All the food here is made fresh to order on the premises and in the world of pre-prepared snackage, that’s a great sign. As the kind of diner who loves to scour menus before visiting a new restaurant in order to pump those excitement levels up from mild to extreme, I had definitely, absolutely, 100% decided on the shakshuka – a Turkish style tomato & spinach sauce baked with eggs and served with sourdough – from the better-looking-than-David-Gandy weekend brunch menu.
Or maybe the goodness breakfast – avocado and cherry tomatoes with poached eggs & spinach on toast?
Yep, it was definitely one of the two.
Okay three because lord knows I’m a sucker for a steak melt particularly when it comes with its own beef jus for the ultimate in dippage. However all my plans were thrown out the window when we arrived and one of the specials was the Wildflower’s chorizo, kale & sweet potato skillet, topped with a fried egg. Book-ended with green tea and Valrhona hot chocolate and accompanied by the soundtrack of lively, energetic, too-many-months-to-catch-up-on-quickly-or-quietly chatter, this was a brunch to savour.
Gratifying my inner greedy girl, I was delighted that both the sweet potato & chorizo were generously diced & distributed in the iron skillet while soft onions and curly kale provided alternative textures and flavours and one gloriously sunny egg spilled its yolk over everything. It was the ultimate looks-like-it-was-heartily-cooked-round-the-campfire-by-cowboys dish made beautiful by the addition of finely chopped leaves and a delicately placed flower.
The place was nicely full when we arrived at noon with every table taken by the time we left…clearly this place, whilst new to us, is only too well known and loved by the locals and it’s peaceful atmosphere and slightly out of the way location provided a most welcome respite from the tourist crowds busily photographing everything in sight around the markets on nearby streets. If you have a ‘places to brunch’ list, and really, if you live in London then of course you do, the Wildflower is a place that should be firmly near the top of it. I loved it and cannot wait to go back.