The Pavilion Café in Victoria Park ought to be the model for eating venues in London’s green spaces. Quality ingredients, a succinct and achievable menu, fresh juices, top end coffee, a handful of freshly baked cakes and treats, and enough staff to keep the queues moving.
Sounds simple, but few other parks are served so well. There’s a similar site in Battersea that they could slot into (and revolutionise) straight away; swap with Peyton and Byrne’s Inn on the Park, and St James’s would suddenly have a café that legitimately sells itself on more than just its location.
Of course some of the Pavilion Café’s appeal is down to its location too – it’s a classic, band stand shaped round building, perched on the edge of a boating lake, light and airy inside, with plenty of seating outside should we get lucky with the weather. Sitting at the water’s edge, with black and white striped canopies flapping above, invariably evokes images of the British seaside pier holidays you probably never had.
‘Breakfast’ is served all day, every day. There are a number of dishes based on the poached eggs on muffins (your choice of spinach, ham, or salmon under a silky hollandaise), as well as things like chorizo burgers and variations on the full English, too. Avocados are often apparent – which is unsurprising given the Aussie twang in the air. Sourdough comes by way of closely linked Borough bakers/restaurant Elliot’s. After 1pm you see a few lunch options. Like freshly made and generously leaden sandwiches on that sourdough, mackerel salads, probably another poached egg themed dish or two.
It’s very decent food in a lovely setting. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all the fare is outstanding – though the level is impressive at weekends given the volume and speed of service.
I do, however, believe that the ‘One Good Reason‘ to head to the Pavilion Café is food related. Because their Sri Lankan breakfast special is awesome.
Brown rice flour ‘stringhoppers’ (noodles); a thin coconut curry with hard boiled eggs, tomato and potato; a really good, layered, dahl, and a zippy, fiery coconut sambal. This is enlivening and wholesome. It sates and fills, and it’s guaranteed to wake you and your taste buds up. The level of spice ought to satisfy all but the most sadistic chilli fiends.
Sadly the Sri Lankan breakfast is only offered Monday to Friday, so it’s one for the occasional day off, or restaurant and bar industry folk suffering from a Sunday night hangover. Definitely worth a detour on a blue sky weekday morning – it’ll kick start your day, whether you have it as a proper breakfast, or closer to lunch time.
Pavilion Café, Crown Gate West, Victoria Park, E97DE – 020 8980 0030
One Good Reason
The Sri Lankan Breakfast. Under a tenner.