Years ago when I worked in the area, Victoria always seemed like a little bit of a gastronomic no-man’s land. Sandwiched between the tolling bells of Westminster scuttling with politicians (though I do kinda love the Blue Boar and have spent far too much time drinking champagne, breakfasting and afternoon tea-ing in the Conrad St James) and Belgravia bustling with the yummy mummy’s, thankfully there are more up and coming restaurants beginning to showcase their chef’s credentials.
Over the years we have discovered a few of the [bloggers favourite klaxon] ‘hidden gems’ in the area that aren’t necessarily fine dining (though we’ve found a few of them too). The cake menu hidden beneath Westminster Abbey, the cockney cobbles of Strutton Green, the rumored Royal favorite Thai restaurant (ok, ok, I began the rumour), the uber-touristy Albert pub where British Army retiree’s sit hoping to warm their bones with a free pint and the cabbie’s favourite greasy spoon The Regency Cafe.
I was introduced to Iris and June by a fellow coffee addict a couple of years ago. It’s slightly off-piste bastion dedicated to the art of the Flat White, serving up beautifully foamed cups of morning brain fuel and a selection of baked goodies during the week.
During the weekend they have recently launched a brunch menu, so to check it out with a cadre of good peoples we arrived bright and early on a Saturday morning. The space is definitely industrial chic (which gets rather echo-ey when groups of excited Kiwis descend for an expat catch up) with a no booking policy keeping in line with their healthy, happy local ethos. I don’t do queuing, so we intentionally planned a get-together earlier in the day & pulled a couple of tables together Kiwi-style.
The menu isn’t an overwhelmingly bacchanalian selection that leaves pre-caffeinated minds baffled, but a carefully curated few choices that still made it hard to decide what we fancied as we wanted all of the things. I may have employed the eenie-meenie-noMatcha-mo method of selection and ended up with their fantastic twist on the Insta-luvvies: avocado on toast. (I will hold my hands up to a secret obsession with avo toast in the privacy of my own lunchtime, however.)
We (3 quarters of the table who all ordered the same – our table mate went mushroom toast) never quite expected a show-stopping tower of brunch though. Poppadoms stacked with sprouted lentils, a sweet green tomato salsa, the pop of Kasundi, homemade grilled paneer which was heavenly and a perfectly poached egg. Delicious, gluten-free AND healthy… we followed it up with an (also delicious) brownie chaser and another well-brewed flat white as we nattered on.
Named for the Grandmothers of the Kiwi owner Jodie, I feel like they would be proud of this local Victoria bastion.
Disclaimer: Adventures of a London Kiwi Limited.co.uk cannot be held responsible for any subsequent St James’ Park autumn leaf chasing or Sir Anthony Hopkins spotting post-brunch…