Time Out says
Balham brunch spot from a trio of twenty-something schoolfriends.
What a difference a day makes. Or, in the case of Brother Marcus, four days. On April 17, the twenty-something trio behind this new Balham hangout picked up the keys from previous owners The Chestnut (a well-meaning but old-fashioned caff); by April 21 they were open. In that time they’d painted the sign, built the tables, taken the press shots. They didn’t pay a penny to another person (‘we couldn’t have even if we’d wanted to’, one comments, ‘we didn’t have any money’).
Turns out the founders – all friends from school – are a multi-talented lot. When not front of house, Alex Large, who spent a summer with street vendors Stake Haus and learned coffee-making and cocktail-shaking at Caravan, is an actor (at the time of writing, he was in a comic play at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre). Arthur Campbell’s background was in branding, Tasos Gaitanos is both photographer and chef (his family own several restaurants in Elounda, Greece; ‘he has cooking in his blood’, declares Large, proudly).
By day, Brother Marcus offers the hipster holy trinity of brunch, cocktails and coffee. Plus street-side windows that open right up if it’s warm enough (it’s all terribly Brooklyn) and a cute courtyard out back. The food is mostly excellent, with ‘brunch’ translating to quality ingredients heaped onto toasted sourdough: pillowy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, asparagus and chilli flakes, say. A flat white was smooth and mellow, a plate of fruit so fresh it warranted a slap. Only the lacklustre pastries got a big thumbs-down, but when I expressed concern, they said they’d already been thinking about switching supplier and would therefore ‘get right on it’.
On weekend evenings, the cafe’s kitchen is turned over to one of their street food or supper club buddies (check Twitter/Facebook for details); during the week they close at 4.30pm and it becomes a space for the rest of their extended gang to hold events. One friend, recently back from Sri Lanka (obvs) is running yoga sessions there; another is due to start up an art class.
As for the name, it’s how Large used to refer to his brother (‘Brother Marcus says we should do this’) and was always the cause of much LOL-ing among their group. (Brother) Marcus should be proud.
9 Chestnut Grove
|Price:||Brunch for two with drinks and service: £30.|
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Users say (29)
Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
- 5 star:20
- 4 star:6
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
Terrific brunch venue. Relaxed atmosphere, super friendly staff and delicious food. I have also hosted a birthday drinks event at Brother Marcus and was very impressed - again the staff really went above and beyond to ensure the success of the evening. Highly recommended on both fronts.
First time in Brother Marcus in Balham and am truly impressed. The food is of a high quality and tastes amazing. It's a plesent place for a quick bite and a chat with some nice music playing. The service is relaxed and friendly. Will be back for sure.
We love this place, great coffee, cake and brunch. it's a great place to nurse a hangover but also to take your parents for brunch or the little ones for breakfast. Thanks Brother Marcus
Super friendly staff and delicious breakfast options, I enjoyed the feta and beetroot fritters with a perfectly poached egg. Even sat on one of the tables outside in the rain (sheltered by a corrugated roof) it was the perfect start to a rainy Saturday morning. Thank you Bro!
I love it because it's close to where I live, has fantastic brunch options including the most amazing French toast.
The food is different, fresh & innovative. The coffee is well sourced & second to none. A true diamond of a cafe!!
A cool place to hang out
Brunch is delicious and the evening food is too
Eggs are an amazing colour and taste so fresh
Love the mock tails too
Friendly staff who are always willing to have a chat, great food whether its breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Open late for local craft beers on a Weds-Sat evenings. The best part is they are incredibly humble, unpretentious and in my opinion serve the best poached eggs and pour the smoothest flat white in Balham. Oh and they are buggy friendly!
Best brunch in Balham, let down only by its coffee (which is sadly not great). Staff are all very friendly and to top it off, its dog-friendly! If they could perfect the coffee it would be five star plus.
Great new breakfast place in Balham. The sister special is delicious and they make great coffee. Will definitely be visiting again!
There's also a cute little courtyard out the back for a nice day.
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