I’m a great advocate of bus travel. I think in London it’s so tempting to go underground and emerge in the centre of London with little sense of how you got there; to conflate the tube map with the actual Geography of the city. But I love being on a bus, seeing the streets, understanding how London is all connected. And, most importantly, looking out for nearby brunch spots.
This is how I stumbled across Ten. I’d given blood and was on the bus heading home, when we paused by some traffic lights. My attention was drawn to the word “brunch”, to a lovely awning and tables on the terrace. Amy and I were looking for somewhere within walking distance to get brunch before we went to Tenerife, and I instantly felt that this was it, this was the place.
The menu at Ten focuses on eggs, as every good brunch menu should. You can have them with almost anything you can imagine – mushrooms, black pudding, Benedict, Florentine, scrambled, poached, baked. If you don’t fancy eggs, they also do pancakes. They serve brunch every day from 10 to 4, so there’s never a bad time to go.
When we went, we were the only customers. I ordered avocado on toast, which I realise seems to be all I ever order these days, but this one came with chorizo and two poached eggs, so the title really undersells it. The chorizo was crispy and melt-in-the-mouth, the avocado ripe and the eggs perfectly runny. I also ordered a mixed berry smoothie which was blissfully sharp. It was a good brunch to set you up for a day of travelling; immensely satisfying, without leaving you too full.
The service was great – though as there was no one else in the restaurant, I guess that doesn’t say much. We loved the restaurant’s atmosphere though, with its focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, traditional British dishes chalked up on gigantic blackboards. We’re determined to go back for happy hour cocktails soon, and try the steaks they’re famous for.
We were so ready for that holiday. The first half of this year felt completely nuts – we moved to London, found a new housemate, organised a birthday party for our other (more serious) website, met new people, reconnected with old people. I had three different jobs in four months. It’s not that things were bad, they were just busy. But our week in Tenerife was the halfway mast of 2015, and we knew things would slow down a bit when we got back.
When the election finally crushed our sprits in May, Tenerife became the light at the end of our tunnel. We were counting down the days.
We’re both quite anxious travellers, especially when airports are involved, but this was one of the easiest travelling days I’ve ever had. The flight wasn’t until 4, so we had all morning to double check our bags, go to brunch, and then catch the long bus to Gatwick.
The walk was lovely. We live in Haringey, a diverse borough which includes the bustling Wood Green, the beautiful Alexandra Palace (my favourite place on a sunny weekend) and the quaint district of Hornsey – and that’s where Hattie found Ten.
I ordered a latte, and it was great. I order a lot of lattes, so it’s rare to be taken by surprise by one. But this was perfect: rich and strong, but no hint of bitterness – just flavour.
I also ordered ‘Eggs Twelve’, a baked eggs dish with a gorgeous tomato and basil sauce, covered in melted parmesan.
Sadly, despite the generous portion size, it only used a single egg. It was a lovely egg – baked perfectly, excellent runny yolk – but it did feel like I was mostly eating sauce and cheese. And you know, it was really good sauce and cheese. Spicy, warm, rich. But if you call a dish “Eggs Twelve” it would be nice to have more than one. Not twelve obviously. But at least two.
Still, it was served with two thick slices of delicious brown bread which went some way towards mopping up all that sauce, and I felt full and happy when I was finished. It really was an excellent sauce.
We chatted to the owner a little, and he was also great – a friendly Australian guy who seemed to think that “Brunch Blogger” was our actual job, and not just a hobby-slash-excuse to eat out a lot.
If only, man. IF ONLY.