I am the antithesis of a beach bunny. Comprising approximately 70% snow leopard (I wish), 10% Polar Bear and 20% coffee, I melt at temperatures over 30°Celcius, and anything over 40°Celcius my brain goes into a little bit of shutdown. So far with our explorations of the world, we’ve timed our visits to avoid the crazy high temperatures – going to Dubai/Abu Dhabi in January, made sure in American summers that we had air conditioning in all of our hotels and a pool handy at all times in Singapore. I would far rather be shivering in the Arctic Circle or somewhere temperate, like Italy in late summer when the heat has gone out of the day.
As a result you won’t often find me complaining about the chill factor in Winter – incessant rain is another matter entirely as someone who hates having damp toes – and to my utter delight when meeting a friend recently for brunch in Putney, the winter day dawned crisp, sunny and with endless azure skies. My perfect kind of day – and what’s more, my brunch dates were both rather gorgeous.
Snuggling into my scarf and relishing my rosy cheeks, we rendezvoused at Antipodea, a restaurant part of the Brew chain near Putney Bridge, all beautifully bedecked in festive decorations.
Have you heard the term antipodean before (I certainly hadn’t until I moved to the UK)? It means
- not comparable; diametrically opposed
- relating to the antipodes, or situated at opposite sides of the Earth
- (informal) of, or pertaining to, Australia or New Zealand
Escorted by a salt and pepper countenanced gentle(dog)man, (you may recognise him from our pawfectly luxurious afternoon tea early last year), we settled in the restaurant terrace, surrounded by heaters and blankets that the smiley staff proffered and paged through the extensive menu, undecided whether to roll with lunch dishes or brunch.
Oh, who am I kidding – it was brunch all the way! With both of us uhmmm-ing and aaaaaahhhhhhh-ing between a savoury or a sweet course, we split the difference and threw aside the usual egg dishes to share a pile of sweetcorn fritters and a stack of blueberry pancakes.
Sweetcorn fritters are a very traditional Kiwi brunch item; and these ones served with bacon, avocado, bacon jam and an intriguing lime aioli absolutely hit the spot. For me the lime aioli made the dish, giving it a hit of piquancy that, dare I say it, reminded me of the inventive Kiwi brunches at home.
Our pancakes were tasty too – and we ended up doing the polite dance of ‘do you want the last one?’ ‘oh no, you have it’ before we emptied the plate in a scrape of tines. Throughout our repast, the staff would pop out, braving the cold to check that we had everything we needed, and top up our hot beverages. Mine was a Flat White because I know my passport will be seized if I ever order anything else, whilst my friend enjoyed a hot cuppa. Just in case you wondered.
(Ps. when you have a snuggly canine for heat, would you call him a hot dog?
To let our brunch settle, and take full advantage of the wonderful weather, we strolled over Putney Bridge, and into Bishops Park and Fulham Palace for a longer chat and to stretch our legs (and paws.)
There was ice on the pond surface, a frost on the air and smiles on our faces as we watched Olly chase his ball excitedly around the different greens. Bishops Park is listed Grade II on the register of parks and gardens of special historic interest maintained by English Heritage.
The park runs north of the River Thames from All Saints church along a broad tree-lined avenue and an embankment path along the river, and ends at Bishop’s Park Road. It contains tennis courts and bowling greens, with another small park area fronting Fulham Palace Road. And it was lovely.
We nipped quickly into the beautiful terraces of Fulham Palace – somewhere that definitely needs a languid revisit armed with more time than we had between weekend tête-à-têtes.
It’s so lovely to not only enjoy a delicious meal, but then discover a new-to-me corner of London.
What is your favourite brunch place/dish – do you stick to the same thing, or bravely vary your order?
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