I live in Clapham, a residential neighbourhood in south west London that offers a lot of choices for eating out (independent cafés and chains). On Saturdays and Sundays, locals come out en masse to have brunch on the high street or in Clapham Old Town, on Abbeville Road or on Battersea Rise. There are some good brunch options around the Clapham Common park, but when it comes to coffee the standards seem to decline a little bit… So for me when it comes to having a great brunch with good coffee, there is only one place: Fields Café.
Fields is the sister café to the amazing Milk Coffee in Bahlam. I have been going to Milk for brunch for years, but to be honest now it’s a bit too busy now and too far from me so that I would have to cycle there and then queue for half an hour and that’s just not going to work for me at weekends. Still a great option when I want to get out of the house and work from a cafe during the week! ;)
Naturally, I was very excited when Fields first opened right next to the skatepark on Clapham Common, about two years ago.
At first, Fields cafe was only open on Fridays and weekends, but thankfully they are now open on Wednesdays and Thursday too. At the time of opening, there was hardly any indoor space so on bad weather days visiting the café was not an option. Since then, Fields Cafe has got a makeover and now sports minimalistic diner-style tables and stools and painted the walls a pretty shade of pink. It makes pretty Instagram pics, that’s for sure.
The espresso at Fields is great, made with beans roasted by The Barn in Berlin. The coffee menu is simple (Aussie-style): espresso with 2.5oz, or 6oz or 7.5oz of milk. For filter coffee they use beans from Koppi Roasters, but unfortunately it is only available as batch-brew (using FETCO machines). I hope they will offer different brewing methods in the future. Until then, I will stick to ordering a cortado or a flat white.
I have been to Fields several times over the past two years and I have gone from “nah, not worth the hype” to “uhm, I actually really like this”. The new indoor space was a nice surprise, it makes thecafé a lot cozier and it creates an overall nicer experience.
Although if you are going to visit Fields, you probably still want it to be on a nice sunny day and sit outside on the large decked area. There aren’t many park cafés in London that are this good, so you have to make the most of it right? ;) (I can only think of Victoria Park Pavilion, but if you know others, let me know in the comments).
Of course, be prepared for a bit of queuing at peak hours on weekends.
The other point to make about Fields Café are the prices, which in my opinion are a bit high for the location, the service system (order and pay at the till) and the portions (£7.50-£9 average price for a dish). I know friends who have felt that the brunch menu was not good value for money.
However the quality is very high both for the food ingredients and the coffee. I am happy to pay more for brunch at Fields – and have a great meal – than to eat at one of the cheaper cafés on the high street.
I tend to go for the classics when I order brunch at Fields, so it’s either Eggs Royale or Avocado on toast. The smoked salmon served at Fields and at Milk is from Hansen & Lydersen and is absolutely wonderful: thick slices of buttery salmon from Norway. The eggs benedict or royale are served with Fields’ signature hollandaise sauce, called “cult of done”, infused with coffee (Cult of Done was the name of a Workshop Coffee blend).
Cult of Done Hollandaise, Poached eggs, Sourdough, Hansen & Lydersen Smoked Salmon
Avocado, Ricotta, Sourdough, Herbs from the garden, Lemon (with poached egg on the side)
My husband on the other hand always orders this dish, which you are not going to find at Milk or anywhere else for that matter.
Caribbean Doubles, Chickpea, Plantain, Tamarind Ketchup, Cucumber Pickle
It’s a Caribbean inspired dish, packed with flavours and spices, and really delicious. It’s a great alternative to the classic brunch dishes and perfect for vegetarians.
Fields Cafe is not perfect. It is a bit rough, very casual and laid back, but at the core they are doing a really good job. It is not a place that everyone will love and it has taken me several visits to get over my initial reservations. But now I am happy to have a good, independent and unique cafe like Fields so close to my home.
Fields Cafe, 2 Rookery Road, London SW4 9DD