This cute, shabby-chic café on Lavender Hill has lots going for it, including a counter heaving with fresh salads, wax paper-wrapped sandwiches and squidgy cakes, and a light, bright feel. Not everything lives up to these positive first impressions – service can be slightly careless, and simple queries were met with blank looks – but the café is a popular option when so close to Clapham Junction.
Once you’ve picked your way around the laptop-hugging customers and found a space at one of the mismatched wooden tables, you might well have to hunt down the brunch menu and ask about the specials yourself. On our visit, these ranged from French toast with bacon to a vegetable-packed omelette. From the brunch offering, poached eggs with herb-spiked avocados on toast were nicely done; however, the accompanying roast tomatoes were mushy and under-seasoned. To drink, fruit and vegetable juices or thick smoothies are appealing, but pricey even by Lavender Hill standards. Social Pantry Café might be on the right track, but it's also as reliable as the rail network during weekend engineering works.