I’ve wanted to live in Stratford’s East Village ever since I first went there. So many restaurants, bars and cute little shops to spend my Sundays pottering round, lots of lovely trees and greenery and Westfield and the rest of Stratford on the doorstep. Instead, I live a couple of tube stops away, and make do with regular visits. The vibe of the East Village lends itself perfectly to a lazy Sunday brunch, so on a rare plan-less weekend, we checked out Village Vanguard.
I’m the most predictable human ever when it comes to brunch. And probably an ultimate blogger cliché too. Smashed avo and poached eggs on sourdough? Done.
But after spotting that Village Vanguard’s menu offers some less ‘traditional’ brunch approaches, I decided to go for something a little different. The Mezze Breakfast (£9.50) includes some of my favourite things: Halloumi, avocado (yep, still a bit of a cliché…), hummus, olives and toasted flatbread, along with labneh, San Marzano tomato and Lebanese cucumber.
Initially, I felt like the plate didn’t look quite as impressive as I was hoping. But that was probably because Conor has the most enormous chicken burger with fries and onion rings. And the actual Meze Breakfast was SO GOOD. A big, lovely-textured chunk of my favourite cheese. Tangy smashed avocado and a generous portion of hummus that was perfect for dipping the crisp flatbread into. Even the veg was a star – the tomato in particular, which was ideal for eating with a little forkful of the labneh.
Speaking of the chicken CC Burger (£15) …phwoar. Two big bits of deep fried chicken, oozy brie, crispy bacon and avocado (yep, more avocado). This is definitely a tough one to eat, but worth the effort as everything goes together perfectly. The chicken itself was crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, and for those who aren’t fans of the heat, it’s not spicy.
Finishing off with some brilliantly cooked skin-on fries (included in the burger price) and possibly some of the best onion rings ever, a steal at just £1.50, it was probably a good thing that there was a lot of it – it meant I got to help out…!
Somehow, we managed to find a little more space for a dessert to share – and it’s something I highly recommend. The Eton Mess (£3) was a creamy, fruity explosion of tasty awesomeness – sharp berries contrasting perfectly with the rich cream and chewy meringue. I mean, seriously. Just look at it, and tell me you’re not drooling just a little bit…plus, it’s a really decent amount for the price. Enough for two to share, although if you want one to yourself, I wouldn’t blame you…
Sitting near to the open kitchen, we did notice the service was a little haphazard at points, with a nearby couple not having their chips brought out – and our coffee took a while to arrive as they’d had some problems with the machine. However, the friendliness of the staff members (particularly a lovely Irish chap who referred to everyone as ‘dude’ and ‘buddy’) was a definite plus point, and it seems like they did manage to fix things pretty sharpish. It wasn’t super-speedy service, but for a laid-back Sunday lunchtime that worked in their favour – who wants to be rushed through brunch anyway?
What makes my obsession with living in East Village even stronger is that Village Vanguard also offer ‘room service’ to local residents, and will deliver you their tasty grub direct to your door. Oh yeah. Imagine that on a hungover weekend morning!
As well as brunch, they also have evening events and a dinner menu. Oh, and some really good benefits to members. Including 50% off food Tuesday and Sunday, and 2-4-1 on loads of drinks between 5-7pm on Friday and Saturday. That membership? It’s free…
I was super impressed with Village Vanguard, and it has a real relaxed, community feel – as well as brilliant food. I’m filling out the membership application as we speak, as we’ll definitely be heading back there!
1 Liberty Bridge Rd, London E20 1AS
*Village Vanguard hosted us for the meal – views honest as always!
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