Granger & Co – Westbourne Grove
Posted on November 9, 2014
Granger & Co. marries a British peculiarity with an Antipodean attitude. Just why the people of Westbourne Grove will queue politely round the corner for a laid back plate of eggs I don’t know.
I never made it inside the first time around. I’d heard the breakfasts were good, and by the looks of things so had others. Midday on a Sunday, the queue was the type you’d complain about at Alton Towers and, unfortunately, for average Joes like you and me, fast tracks don’t exist in the restaurant business so I didn’t even bother. Unless it has a bar to wait in, you won’t catch me queuing for a restaurant (having said that I ended up waiting 20 minutes for a table at 202 further up the road. But my dignity was kept in tact as the wait was inside where one can while away the time pretending to be interested in its book display).
I returned one Monday morning about half eleven. My reasoning: no one has time for drawn out breakfasts on Monday morning do they? Ah, except, of course, Notting Hill’s maternal contingent. I should have known. The place was heaving with women; a giant postnatal gathering of impending biddies that brunch.
No queue, luckily, but a short wait at the bar gave the restaurant’s patrons a chance to scrutinize us. It was like we had hopped over a five bar gate into a cattle field. I suddenly felt extremely vulnerable. The cows stopped chewing their organic, sourdough, free-range cud, moved slowly in front of their young and stared, statue-still. We, too, froze in a face off. Not a bull in sight but we knew they could seriously injure us. But after a few moments, they went back to feeding and we were free to sit.
It appeared to be a restaurant governed by its clients. Granger & Co. had been stormed by legion of pretentious mothers, that now sat on their thrones with their toddlers on mini thrones (they must have had a special storeroom for all the high chairs) with their babies swaddled in silk and mink. The staff were their servants, they would ignore the menu and order what they pleased, judging everyone else who entered. I can only imagine these bovine mothers could smell W13 on us, or perhaps I was male, or perhaps it was procreators only. Either way, we sat among the kids (most were well behaved), the colouring crayons and a small fleet of bugaboos or bugbears or whatever they are called and buried our heads in menus.
They read brilliantly. ‘Soft boiled cotswold legbar eggs & buttered sourdough soldiers’ is the only way to sell dippy eggs to an upscale neighbourhood. Ordinary pancakes were replaced by ricotta hotcakes with banana & honeycomb butter and because undamaged eggs are so uncultured they served broken ones with ricotta, spinach and pine nuts. It seemed like a lot of waffle, but it got me salivating.
I ordered the full aussie (the menu’s too haughty for capitalisation) that is remarkably like a Full English but comes with ‘cumin tomatoes’, ‘miso mushrooms’ and smaller sausages. It didn’t come upside down, or poached in XXXX but as fry-ups go, it was great. Noticeably grease-free, the plate shone with culinary skill – the scrambled eggs being some of the best I’ve tried. They were laced with cream and whipped in such a way they resembled a meringue, managing to be firm on the outside whilst remaining soft within – a kind of a yellowy looking cowpat, and a damn tasty one at that.
Chilli fried egg & bacon brioche roll, with spiced mango chutney & rocket tasted as good as it sounds. The chutney, mild and sweet, worked with the mayonnaise to form the perfect breakfast burger sauce, balanced out nicely with a generous handful of rocket. The toasted coconut bread came in two thick slices, as sweet as cake with its dusting of icing sugar and a dark crust that was hair-curlingly good. We shared a bowl heaped with chopped fruit that had all the vibrancy of Westbourne Grove during the August Bank holiday: colourful, fresh, zingy and capped with thick sour yoghurt and honey slipping down its slope.
Fresh was the best way to describe Granger & Co. Fresh not only in its approach to breakfast staples but the atmosphere Bill has evoked. White, clean and airy, all you needed was a few curtains flapping in the breeze to be in Baz Lurhmann’s recreation of Daisy’s sitting room from The Great Gatsby. It felt different to other breakfast spots, somewhat revitalizing and almost cleansing, even without trying the juices containing everything from chia to silver beet. All that was missing was a veranda, a rocking chair and sun.
Bill likes to think of the ‘Australian’ spirit as: ‘sunny, easy-going and generous’. Granger & Co. definitely fits this billing but I wonder if he knows his London clientele are more money, breezy-crowing and pretentious. Even if he did, I’m sure he wouldn’t care.