Wednesday, 11 July 2012


The idea is simple and commendable, and yet seems rather obvious; a café selling dishes using only fresh ingredients from the market opposite. When said market is Borough Market, the possibilities are vast. But Borough does bring complications such as weekend obligations on service speed and ‘crowd management’ – especially of the dozy tourist breed,  and the expectations of quality are much higher.

Elliot’s on the whole does a very good job. The space is bright, modern and appealing. Of course they don’t take reservations but I think on balance that suits the market thing, in terms of being able to browse and amble around without being on a schedule. My recent visit was a very quick brunch but I’ll definitely be back to try something more hearty.

I had the mini pancakes with strawberries and lemon curd ice cream – around £7. This was a clean, fresh dish – the Elliot’s full English at about £12.50 sounded fantastic but I fancied something a bit lighter. The ‘ice cream’ was closer to ‘refrigerated cream’ and could have been stronger on the lemon front. Strawberries were great as in season, and the pancakes were light.

Three small things to flag – firstly my coffee (which was very good) took about 10-15 mins to arrive, and did so shortly before my food. Annoying, but it was Saturday morning so their busiest time, even though this is not a surprise but a weekly occurrence. You could almost queue up with the Monmouth mugs next door in that time.

Secondly, they don’t sell sparkling water (only filtered tap) which seems to be missing a trick. Some people genuinely want sparkling, not to mention the hordes of tourists who probably think London tap is undrinkable, even if filtered. The margins are good too, what other restaurant doesn’t stock this?

And finally, why not offer some of the lovely meaty components from the full English as sides? All good brunch places do this – I could have happily had a little side of sausage or black pudding alongside my pancakes, only to hear “we can’t do that”. Right then. Do you work for the council?

So the sparkling water and brunch side represented maybe £5-7 which would have gladly gone from my coffers to theirs. Small change with one punter perhaps, but over time that rigidity will add up...

Food – 8/10
Drink – 8/10
Service - 6/10 (slightly snappy waitress and slow coffee)
Value – 8/10
Tap water tales – 9/10 (filtered tap offered and without that stupid £1 fee you see these days)
Staff Hotness – 5/10
Elliot's Cafe on Urbanspoon 
Square Meal

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