Whilst there are many locations that one can have breakfast in the expansive city that is London, there are few that can provide a tranquil garden environment, a varied menu, gutsy lattes that an Australian will approve of – all without pulling too harshly on the purse strings. Well that is exactly what The Quince Tree offers, set it Little Venice's Clifton Nurseries. An hour at this venue could easily turn into several thanks to the fine food, friendly service, pretty surroundings, notwithstanding the cosy rugs to snuggle into on a cold winter's day. For the green-thumbs out there, the nursery is well stocked for you to replenish your plants, seedlings and pots, and for the brown-thumbs; well, the ever hardy cacti are available as well.
When one looks for nursery café's in London one generally hears about Petersham Nurseries café in Richmond. Whilst glorious to look at with a fine menu as well, dining at this rustic treasure will cost you in excess of £20pp simply for a main dish; which is The Quince Tree is so remarkable in its affordability. The price is no indication of the quality; for 'The Scrumper' is the best breakfast I have had this side of the equator. Smashed avocado, two poached eggs, grilled mushroom, tomato, hummus and sweet chilli dressing on rye bread toast, all for £9.50. The flavours dance on your tongue, and you know the kitchen are confident in what they are doing. For those who prefer a full English never fear, it's available for £11 and the café even caters for those whom are not egg-inclined offering marinated sardines on toast with olives, capers and a tomato dressing (£7.50), Greek yoghurt and granola with fresh berries and maple syrup (£7) among other dishes. Freshly pressed juice is also on the menu from £3.95 and they even offer pastries and other bakery items for eating on the run. To see the full breakfast menu, click here. We visited for breakfast, but the café offers lunch as well with hearty salads hovering around £7 - £12, light items from £7.50 and large plates ranging from £9.50 to £16 (steak frites). I, myself am looking forward to returning if only to try the divine sounding roast fig & ricotta bruschetta with parma ham & pine nuts (£9) that sings to me from the lunch menu.
Patronage here is an eclectic mix. Designer-label brunchers sit alongside families with three generations present. Tourists drop in for a takeaway whilst suit-wearers indulge in a juice, and it is easy to see that any individual appreciative of quality food will be welcome. Arrive early if you do not wish to be disappointed, or at least book in advance. At 9.30 on a Saturday morning, there were only two tables left, and the others who arrived all appeared to have reservations. The few who didn't have a fair time to wait. Granted, there are few more picturesque places to wait in London, but if your belly demands a quick feed you are better booking your table in advance.