Food Editor - Sheenagh de Silva

Brother Marcus’ celebrate 1st birthday

Brother Marcus’ celebrate 1st birthday

Brother Marcus, Balham’s all day brunch garden cafe, is celebrating its first birthday, with a 3-day bottomless brunch party.

And what a remarkable journey it’s been for the three 26-year old owners, who met at school.  Alex, Arthur and Tasos first bonded over a shared passion for food, hospitality and the dream of one day opening their own place. Over the next few years, they lived and breathed the industry, gaining experience in everything from coffee to street food.  Finding a venue was difficult, but after much searching, they negotiated a deal with the owner of a greasy spoon cafe, right in the heart of Balham.  They had just three days and very little cash to turn the venue around.  They also had bags of creativity, confidence and commitment.

Making pretty much everything themselves – building distressed wooden tables and benches in the back garden, potting plants, painted walls, launching the website, finalising menus – they finally opened their doors exactly year ago.

It was a Thursday, and they absolutely had to make enough money that weekend to pay the rent on Monday and stay in business.  With a deep promotion on coffee, people queued out the door – in our interview, they vividly recounted the chaos of five staff serving hundreds of people that weekend.  A year on, weekends are still busy, but during the week when I visited, it’s super chilled, with a couple of people working on laptops, a few pairs chatting over coffee and cake, and Tasos’s mum having coffee in the garden.  The staff always take care to make everyone feel at home, including their canine guests, who are provided with a doggy bowl labelled Brother Barcus – I’m not going to lie, this may’ve been my favourite of many thoughtful details that characterise this lovely cafe.

So, how’s the food?

The menu is as creative as the decor, healthy and delicious as well.

They pay attention to every ingredient used, focusing on seasonal, organic, high quality produce, from the St Ives eggs to Cypriot Halloumi.  Daily brunch features dishes such as the Sister Special (avocado, spinach, poached eggs, bacon and sourdough), Brother Special (poached eggs, asparagus, smoked salmon, avocado and spinach) and my choice, The Step Sister (courgette, beets & feta fritter, avocado, spinach & poached egg) – the fritter was impressively un-greasy!  At the counter is a tempting array of home-baked gluten-free cakes – think lemon drizzle and almond & orange – and the brownies attain exactly the right level of gooeyness.   

They’re big on their drinks too.  For fans of great coffee, Brother Marcus serve Caravan quality green coffee and a special cold brew – beans are brewed for 16 hours, twice filtered and served over ice with a slice of lemon. Fresh smoothies include chocolate, orange & cinnamon and mango, cayenne pepper, apple & ginger.  I had the latter (to offset any deep-seated, fritter-related guilt) but will be back to try the others.

As dawn turns to dusk, guests can spike their smoothies, shakes and coffee, or choose from a list of handcrafted wines, craft beer or carefully designed cocktail list; The Glover, made with tequila, ginger beer, pink grapefruit juice and a squeeze of lime, is topped with herbs and botanicals from the garden.

Brother Marcus also host evening Supper Clubs in partnership with up and coming talent such as Chicory Kitchen and street food favourite STAKEhaus

Ready to party?

Join the guys to celebrate this weekend.  You can enjoy a dish from the brand new spring menu, and flowing prosecco and mimosas for £25pp.

There are party hats, balloons and birthday cake, obvs.

Address: 9 Chestnut Grove, SW12 8JA     Telephone: 02036742141

Website:     Social Media: @brothermarcus_

April 22nd, 2017

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