London's East End hasn't always had the most savoury of reputations. In the late 19th Century, it was synonymous with overcrowding, poverty, disease and crime - and perhaps most infamously as the stomping ground of serial killer Jack the Ripper whose deeds are recounted every night in walking tours of the area.
Waterbirds enjoy some sunny weather. Author image.
But the gentrification of the East End has changed the character of this part of the city, hastening in waves of hip restaurants, cafes, shops and boutiques. And nowhere are the effects of these changes more apparent than in Victoria Park, a sprawling 86 hectares of open space which contains hidden gems within, chief among them The Pavilion Cafe.
Set overlooking an expansive lake with a soothing fountain and ample waterbirds for entertainment, there are few more magical settings for a leisurely breakfast, brunch or lunch than The Pavilion Cafe. A short stroll from our Airbnb, we spent many mornings here while on holiday in London - as did hosts of cyclists, dog walkers, babysitters and others on the go.
Breakfasts here run the gamut of sandwiches (such as bacon and egg, or BLT with aioli), burgers (sausage with caramelised onions and fried egg, or Portabello mushroom) and eggs (poached, fried, Florentine, Benedict) alongside full English breakfasts (with vegetarian options here too). A Sri Lankan curry featuring eggs, dahl, coconut sambal and rice flour string hoppers is also very popular.
The Pavilion Cafe owners are very particular about their produce: only organic, free range eggs are used, and all meat is sourced from the Ginger Pig in Pickering, North Yorkshire. House-made bread is available by the loaf and baked treats such as Chelsea buns and croissants (both chocolate and plain) are available for those who aren't quite up to a more filling meal.
Work off any excess calories by taking a wander through Victoria Park afterwards, taking in the canals, ponds, playgrounds and picnic areas. For the especially energetic, there's even a self-guided Memoryscape Trail which allows you to download and then listen to listen to local park users' memories and stories of the park's development over its 170 years.