Written by Alice Sanders


In search of a better brunch

Since sampling what passes for a decent brunch in Los Angeles, Alice Sanders’ tastebuds have developed a determination to find suitably comparable late morning offerings at home. She’s starting with a Peckham recommendation.

Pedler exteriorPedler in Peckham Rye was recommended to me, so I chose it for my first post-LA brunch review. It’s one of those places that feels a bit too cool for school (so I fitted in perfectly, obvs).

When we arrived it was completely rammed – which I take as an excellent indicator. It was however, extremely noisy. With the music turned up high, you have to raise your voice to be heard, which in turn makes the next person talk louder, until in the end everybody is red-faced and screaming at each other over Blondie’s Atomic. We asked them to turn the music down. They obliged. Crisis averted.

One of the best things about the menu at Pedler is that it is diverse. Yes, there is a full English on it, which I bemoaned in my previous article. If I want a fry up, I’ll go to a greasy spoon.

“Los Angeles brunch would never do this to me; it would never leave me still peckish. Los Angeles would brunch me in the face and leave me out of the game for hours.”

There’s also a sodding avocado on toast option – adding slow-roasted tomatoes and lemon does not a meal make.

Thankfully, there are lots of other things on the Pedler menu too. Things you haven’t even heard of, like hispi (a kind of cabbage), gremolata (a chopped herb condiment) and dutchies – a kind of pancake that’s a bit like Yorkshire pudding.

They also have a selection of both small plates and large plates. One of my friends had the eggs benedict (with hispi) and was mighty pleased with it. Another had a goat’s cheese and bean thing on toast; it was light and delicious. I almost went for both of these options:
a) glazed banana & mascarpone dutchie, salted caramel
b) black quinoa & sweet potato hotcakes, crème fraiche, courgette.

Can you imagine glazed banana, mascarpone and salted caramel on a pancake/Yorkshire pudding hybrid? I’m going back to try that one next time. Yes, I am allergic to bananas, but I’m willing to die for this cause.

brunch pedler2The other narrowly missed option was hotcakes. Just say the word ‘hotcakes’ and try not to feel warm and cosy.

In the end though, what I actually ate was smoked haddock kedgeree with a perfect runny-yolked poached egg on the top. The rice was sticky and comforting without crossing the line into stodgy; it was lightly spiced, the fish had a nice crispy skin; it was a beautifully crafted dish. But it was too small, and I was hungry. Los Angeles brunch would never do this to me; it would never leave me still peckish. Los Angeles would brunch me in the face and leave me out of the game for hours.

One more special mention for something that’s on the menu in more than one dish that I didn’t get to eat (but have been dreaming about ever since): maple salted whipped butter. The four words every girl longs to hear from her lover’s mouth. Say it again, baby, say it again: maple salted whipped butter.

They also have a selection of gin-based brunch cocktails for if you’re in need of a hair of the dog, or you just love getting pissed at midday. They looked really good, but I didn’t have one this time.

The coffee at Pedler is good too; it’s Climpson & Sons. I ill-advisedly had two cups after not drinking coffee for several weeks and spent the rest of the day as high as a kite. See, just too cool for school me.

Here are my final ratings at the end of the meal, illustrated by the glorious avocado. Not a meal in itself, but certainly a food of the gods:

Food: 4 avocados
Beverage: 4 avocados
Dining Room: 2 avocados
Service: 4 avocados
Value: 3 avocados



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Written by Alice Sanders

Alice Sanders is a freelance writer. She writes articles, audio description for the visually impaired, and fiction. She also performs with comedy improv troupe The Pioneers. @wernerspenguin