BY PALOMA LACY
Good brunch is not an easy meal to find in the suburbs. Many cafes have a stab at it but it often turns out to be little more than a poor fry-up.
Brunch should be something a little more refined, and by all means include a full English breakfast, but using the best ingredients, cooked with some finesse.
The lucky folk of Wallington welcomed Ginger Frog a few months ago and its tables have been full ever since.
My mid-morning visit one Friday started quietly enough, but within an hour, as we coasted nicely towards lunchtime, I felt relieved that my early arrival had secured the best seat in the house – comfortable banquette seating, purchased from one of those late, great bar/restaurants of noughties London, no less.
As the clock struck noon there wasn’t an empty seat in the house as a mixed crowd gathered to sample the delights the kitchen has to offer up.
There were community groups, lunching ladies, family groups, and the mums with buggies brigade.
Suffice to say, Ginger Frog caters for all and their varying requirements.
This would be a good time to point out there are excellent baby change facilities available. Modern, industrial cool would probably best describe the interior, global ceiling lights shipped in especially from Italy actually made me green with envy.
Cool both by nature and name, Ginger Frog is a playful description of the duo behind this lively cafe.
Customer service is the key here and on point. It is rare to see so many staff, visible in the open kitchen and serving on the floor, but smacks of an experienced management team.
The end result: very good food, served in a timely fashion and above all, happy customers.
Co-owner Phil Deguara explained that brunch and lunch is the mainstay of the current menu, taking customers from first thing in the morning until 4pm, but plans are under way for an early evening menu and later opening hours in the near future.
But for now, brunch is bringing in the punters – and in their droves, it would seem.
A friend who’d dined here before recommended avocado on sourdough toast, cherry tomatoes, chilli flakes, and feta cheese (£6.50).
I was very keen, having been swept along in the global avocado addiction that’s hit in recent years, but was swayed by the Veggie English.
Roasted tomatoes, field mushroom, grilled halloumi, buttered spinach, beans and sourdough toast (£8) fitted the bill very nicely indeed.
The biggest test of all was passed with flying colours as my knife slid into egg white, revealing a lake of yolk, cooked perfectly.
My friend’s full English looked far better than the average – Lincolnshire sausage, bacon, black pudding, roasted tomatoes, field mushrooms, beans and poached eggs on sourdough (£8.50).
If you love eggs, as I do, you’re in luck, with eggs Benedict, florentine and royals, all served on an English muffin.
Veggie option, garlic mushrooms, goat’s cheese, herb dressing, on toast is just £6.50, and those with an eye on a sweeter dish should check out cinnamon toast, with streaky bacon and maple syrup.
If you don’t fancy typical brunch fare, there’s a host of toasted sandwiches, as well as fish finger BLT, Mediterranean tuna melt and that Greek staple, Gyros – pulled pork tzatziki, chilli, red onion, shredded lettuce and tomato served on flatbread.