Thursday, 9 October 2014

London Life: Sunday Brunch at Ffiona's, Kensington

On a drizzly Sunday morning, I awoke with a stinking great cold.

It was August, would you believe, but the weather out of the window and my immune system were trying to tell me otherwise.

Still revelling in the previous night's theatrical masterpiece at the Gielgud Theatre, I checked out of my hotel and headed out to South Kensington for a spot of Sunday brunch - because what else can you do at the weekend in London?

After a spot of googling, we eventually found our way to Ffiona's, tucked away around the streets. We were promised the 'best brunch in London' by a number of reviews, so we headed in,  anticipating a real treat.

Our first mistake was clear from the very beginning; we were asked if we had booked (we had not). This was met with a slight grimace - we had clearly underestimated the popularity of this tiny cafe, and I started to worry that our brunch plans had been scuppered by spontaneity. Eventually, however, we found ourselves perched on the end of a large table, having been told we'd need to leave within the hour as they were expecting to get busy.

Unfortunately, this was a little uncomfortable - my seat was right next to the door, which was obviously in continual use, and was a bit disturbing and cold. Being sat at the very edge of a table isn't the best way to feel welcome, and after a slightly frosty reception (our menus were handed over briskly, and no guidance or friendly chatter was provided) I felt a bit awkward. 

The other visitors were clearly enjoying themselves. One American family were being talked through the variety of the menu by one lady who was charismatic and entertaining; and another couple were tucking into their food with gusto.

The cafe itself was lovely; small, intimate, and nicely decorated, with beautiful furniture and pretty fresh flowers.  I thought it was even a bit quirky. The menu sounded delicious too, especially the lunches, which I knew would prove popular within the next few hours!

I opted for a simple pot of tea, and blueberry and maple syrup waffles, having been craving them all weekend! The food arrived promptly and I have to say the waffles looked and tasted delicious. It was a treat for my senses! Sweet, fluffy, and warm, with a whole jug of maple syrup to myself. I would have liked a few more blueberries (I just about got one of my five-a-day!) as I love my fruit, or a few more topping options,  but they were tasty. I did get a bit confused when ordering, as the menu gave the impression that I would get more than just blueberries, but perhaps that was my mistake.

I was told on good authority that the Pesto Benedict was delicious and unique, and the suggested addition of halloumi was excellent (a plus, suggested by the waitress!). Though apparently the Hollandaise Sauce could have been better). It's safe to say the Brunch menu was impressive and very enticing.

As promised, within the hour we had left and ventured back into the pouring rain to explore the museums on Exhibition Road. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, to be honest - we did have time to chat and muse over our tea, but it wasn't the relaxed, drawn-out brunch we would have preferred on a Sunday. 

I like to be honest in my reviews, and while the food was lovely - simple, fresh and filling - I do think it was a bit over-priced for what we received. The service was also a little 'off', sadly. I am sure that the team at Ffiona's are lovely and a lot of thought and care has gone into the cafe, as they have a very good reputation, but I felt rather unwelcome - perhaps this was because we were cheeky enough to turn up without a booking. 

The various reviews online seem to mostly rave about Ffiona's, but from my experience it seemed a little over-hyped. However, I know that I have only been once, and it's hard to judge somewhere on a single experience. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have had a better brunch - it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either, and we both left feeling a little...odd. And it wasn't just because of my unseasonal cold.


  1. That's a shame :( Won't be adding this to my list of London eats then!


  2. Yes it can be very mixed according to the mood of the hostess. I would also advise any mums not to bring their kids there - the owner is not at all kid friendly and made us feel very unwelcome. We use to love this place - not anymore.