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Planned vs. Spontaneous – The Eating Out Dilemma
Some of the best things in life are unplanned, such as accidentally running into an old friend, a spontaneous trip with your partner, or a random night out with your besties. Taking the organisation and expectation out of the occasion can just make things a lot more fun and rewarding.
However, when it comes to eating out, I’ve never really been one for spontaneity. Being a foodie, a food blogger and a Londoner with a very hectic schedule, eating out is usually a well-planned process. There are thousands of restaurants across London and the thought of just going out and randomly choosing one to eat in has always frazzled me a little, particularly due to the large queues and wait times you’re bound to find anywhere remotely popular.
This is why I make sure to search around blogs and social media for new openings, the most appetising dishes and beautiful locations, check the likes of Bookatable and OpenTable to find any deals, and always book in advance.
The only time my restaurant visits are not planned is when I’m popping to somewhere very local or that I visit on a regular basis. One of these for me is the Côte Brasserie at the end of my road, where I can’t resist their amazing brunch deal which includes any dish, a hot drink and orange juice for just £10.50.
The Day That Changed My Mind
Last Sunday I woke up late with no plans for the day and absolutely no food in the cupboard, which meant it was brunch time! Damian and I were dressed and ready, and about to walk to Côte, when I remembered my New Year’s resolution – stop relying on familiar places and try something new. So instead of our trusty local, we ventured further into Fulham to find something different.
We eventually came across Manuka Kitchen, a busy looking brunch spot flaunting it’s several Michelin listings on the front window. I had seen this place before and was keen to try it, however, upon entering we were told that without a reservation we’d be waiting at least half an hour. As great as it looked, I was far too hungry to be waiting 30 minutes. Fortunately, as we were leaving we spotted a quirky little cafe next door called Chairs and Coffee.
Chairs and Coffee
Chairs and Coffee at first glance looked more like a coffee shop with a great selection of hot drinks and cakes, but upon further inspection, we discovered that they did have a brunch menu.
Inside, the cafe was small and cosy with a rather unusual decor. A mismatched collection of chairs are both positioned around tables and, more surprisingly, hung on the walls – hence the name I presume.
Usually Eggs Benedict is my go-to brunch dish, however, Chairs and Coffee had a slightly more unique selection. In true Fulham style, many of the dishes featured avocado and other health foods. There were several open toasts on sourdough bread, scrambled egg on sourdough, fresh burrata, toasted banana bread and toasted sandwiches.
Finding it hard to choose, I decided to try both the avocado and feta with chilli, Black sesame seeds and lime on sourdough, and the Canadian style banana bread with bacon, maple syrup, bananas and Greek yoghurt.
This was probably the best decision I could have made.
The avocado and feta sourdough was one of those dishes that you fall madly in love with after just one bite. The saltiness of the marinated feta and the kick of the chilli gave the traditional dish of avocado on toast a whole new dimension. Sorry Eggs-Benedict, I think I may just have a new favourite brunch dish!
The sweet banana bread then made a perfect dessert (if bacon can be classed as a dessert) to round off a great meal.
To accompany my food I ordered a Chai Latte with oat milk (there’s a good selection of non-dairy milk) and I have to say it was one of the best Chai Lattes I’ve had the pleasure of drinking in a long time. They also have an espresso machine and even roast their own coffee. I don’t personally drink coffee but, as is implied in the name, I hear it’s fantastic!
Would I Do It Again?
In short, yes. Maybe not every time though. I still love hunting down cool spots in advance and booking them to ensure I don’t have to wait. Plus I still have a long list of London foodie spots to tick off my bucket list. However, I will definitely be spending a few more lazy Sunday mornings exploring South West London and seeing if I can accidentally uncover any more great brunch spots.