Safe to say our morning plans did not go as expected! I bought a zone 1-2 underground pass (rather than a zone 1-6) as I knew we’d be eating in Central, but it was the type of ticket that you can only use once (so the ticket barriers swallow them up). We had to join the suuuuuper long ticket queue to exchange it for the right ticket and then we were served by our favourite ever member of staff. WAYNE. Oh Wayne.. where do I begin!? If anyone else lives in St Albans you surely know. I usually buy my tickets from the ticket machines but every time I have to queue up to buy a ticket I pray that I’m not served by him. Every single time he has something to moan or complain about, he acts like selling me a ticket is the biggest chore in the world and when I ask to do something a little more awkward, such as a refund or an exchange, he literally acts like I just pooed on his computer. He’s permanently grumpy, permanently miserable and no matter HOW many times I try to be polite I can’t ever get him to even manage the smallest of smiles. I remember going once to get a single ticket from Milton Keynes to London a few days in advance, and he sold me a restricted ticket (London Midland trains only) when I specified which train I was planning to get and it was a Virgin train. When I disputed it he kicked up a huge fuss, claimed it would be WAY more expensive to get a non-restricted ticket (ten pence by the way) and rolled his eyes when I asked him to change it for me. Then when he printed out the ticket, I checked again and he’d sold me a ticket for that day, even though I’d told him I was travelling in a few day’s time. This time he couldn’t even blame me for getting it wrong, so rather than just apologising like any other person, he proceeded to swear and moan that his computer was totally crap and he’d changed the date but it changed it back (of course it did). Anyway, after I’d exchanged my ticket with the ever-delightful Wayne, we’d missed the train and had to wait 15 minutes for the next one. 15 minutes might not seem like long, but when you’re excited for brunch (and when in true London-style you moan about the next tube being any further than 3 minutes away).. it feels like forever! By the time we got to London I ended up buying a snack to tide me over until brunch.
Turns out it was a good job I bought a snack! We finally got to London and took the tube to Ladbroke Grove as we’d planned to have lunch at Bluebelles, just off Portobello Road. Of all the possible weeks we’d picked, it was apparently shut for a refurbishment. 😦 I was debating getting the tube back to Central to go to another of the many places on my list but we decided to wander round instead. We stumbled across Goode & Wright on the main road and decided to give it a go.
I’ll be honest, it’s not the typical brunch spot that I’d usually choose and I can judge places pretty quickly based on their decor, service and general appearance but I tried to be open minded. It was quite quiet as it was a mid-week morning and there was old fashioned music playing in the background. It felt more like being in a brasserie than a lunch spot.. it was a strange place, with only one older guy taking orders and bringing the food. The whole place was a bit haphazard, with different salt and pepper shakers on each table, and each item of crockery was mismatched, as if they’d just accumulated them from random places around London. It has dark wood furniture, huge comfy sofas and pretty little cushions though and I can imagine it making a lovely dinner spot.
Prejudices aside though, the food was so good. This place was a classic example of not judging a book by its cover – it far exceeded my expectations. All of the dishes were so tasty and full of flavour. Their menu had the perfect balance between brunch classics and unique items to give it a bit of a twist. We ordered charred broccoli w/ baby gem, aioli and goats curd, english wild mushrooms w/ garlic and toasted sourdough, spiced chicken w/ crispy bacon, avocado, sourdough and fries and roasted salted cauliflower. The sourdough was a thick slab with crusty edges and a soft middle, mine was spread thickly with avocado. The chicken was perfectly spiced, the saltiness of the bacon was the perfect accompaniment and the fries were thin and crispy. The wild mushrooms were sautéed with a hint of garlic, I loved how many different types there were and they were generous with the portion size.
The broccoli was a little oily and salty but honestly it was perfect that way.. it was incredibly tasty and I could’ve eaten plate after plate of it on its own! The cauliflower was the same – it was roasted with salt and butter and it was so full of flavour that even though it came after the rest of our food I was perfectly happy to eat it by itself! Since they ‘forgot’ our cauliflower we got both that and the broccoli for free.
They serve brunch all week, but I spotted a couple of extra dishes on the weekend brunch menu that sounded amazing – toasted brioche with dark chocolate ganache and steak with cheesy eggs!
By the end of the meal, with the food being so amazing, even the place had grown on me with its rustic charm and mismatching cutlery. Given its location on Portobello Road, one of London’s most famous antique markets, I guess it’s quirkiness made it fit right in. I was definitely too quick to judge this place and I’d definitely recommend it for a good, very reasonably priced meal.
Would I recommend it? Yes
Worth going out of your way for? No
Would I go back? Probably not
Link to their website: http://www.goodeandwright.co.uk
Oh and something else I discovered on that day.. nutella covered croissants!