Dr G and I recently had a Saturday morning outing from Islington to Victoria Park, jogging along Regent’s Canal. Tired but exhilarated on one of the few beautiful summer days this year, we staggered to the refurbished lakeside Pavilion Cafe for a reviving breakfast.
The lovely glass rotunda is encircled by a mishmash of tables made from old wooden benches and chairs overlooking a splendid lake and fountain. Apart from the charming location, the real draw is the food which is a real cut above what you might expect in a public park.
Delicious dishes are written up on blackboard walls, with the likes of Eggs Benedict (with ham) @ £6.50 or Royale (with smoked salmon) @ £7, and variations on English breakfast. The ingredients are all well sourced (Ginger Pig meats, Monmouth coffees) and, where possible, organic.
The only downside is the place's popularity - on a sunny day it's invariably over-run. Fortunately, there are more seats next to the lake, so it's worth taking a numbered marker and waiting at one of the tables for your food to arrive.
Normally we go for the Eggs Benedict or Eggs Royale but on this occasion, we opted to try the cafe’s cooked breakfasts. I ordered a “Pavilion Breakfast” @£8 (fried egg, bacon, sausage, mushroom, roast tomatoes, home baked beans and toast).
Dr G had the “Farmhouse Breakfast” @£8.50 (2 eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, homemade beans and toast), with two steaming mugs of orange-brown coloured ‘builder’s tea’.
The breakfast options we chose were of course fairly standard however the quality of the ingredients made all the difference - the black pudding was richly flavoured, with a gamey, spicy quality while the bacon was thick, irregularly cut and with a pleasing texture.
The baked beans were homemade, with the skin of the yielding beans still in place, a delicious, richly concentrated and herby tomato sauce, thankfully lacking the artificial taste of the tinned equivalent. The tea was good and strong as befits this kind of breakfast.
Cost: £8 to £8.50 for the cooked breakfast + £1 per mug of builder’s tea.
Likes: great lakeside location, delicious homemade, organic produce and excellent brunch menu.
Dislikes: On a summer weekend, the place is packed, the kitchen and serving staff struggle to cope and service may vary from charming to plain rude.
Verdict: A wonderful venue for a lazy breakfast or brunch after a night on the tiles. The quality of ingredients is good with prices to match. Recommended.