Sal’s Kitchen reviews… Cafe au Lait

Cafe au Lait

There’s something gloriously decadent about an all-day brunch. It speaks of a day with no plans except a long, lazy lie-in, and hours to while away sharing fantastic food with friends, nowhere to rush off to and nothing to worry about. Brunch is not a meal for busy days – it’s an indulgence to be savoured and luxuriated in. And of course, this means that you don’t want to waste it on any old rubbish – so take my advice, and next time you have one of those glorious lazy days, get yourself down to Café au Lait and sample their outstanding all-day brunch menu.

Café au Lait is a lovely friendly little café right by the station, always bustling with people popping in for a takeaway coffee before they jump on the train (tourists might head to Caffe Nero down the road, but savvy locals and proper coffee aficionados know Café au Lait is by far the better choice). If you’ve never lingered long enough to grab a table and check out their food, though, you’re really missing out. Their new all-day brunch menu is a prime example of what makes this café so fab – it’s got all the classics, done simply and well with the best fresh ingredients, but it’s also sprinkled with some really creative and tempting ideas, like eggs benedict with BBQ pulled pork, or baked sweet potatoes loaded with mashed avocado, poached eggs and chilli. I love a menu that makes it impossible for me to choose, and let me tell you, I really struggled with this one.

Cafe au Lait
Cafe au Lait is the perfect place for a pick-me-up

Finally, though, I decided on grilled halloumi with the house spice mix, sweet potato puree, avocado and poached eggs – I couldn’t resist the idea of thick crispy slices of halloumi, and I wasn’t disappointed. The seasoning was just right, and the combination with fluffy sweet potato was particularly inspired. The poached eggs, meanwhile, were perfectly cooked, and just the thing with thick slices of buttered sourdough toast and fresh avocado – a more classic combo, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with the classics when they’re done really well. Case in point, the veggie breakfast which my dining companion ordered – something you can find on pretty much any café menu these days, but which so often disappoints. Not this time though. It featured more crispy, delicately-spiced halloumi (which frankly, I would take over bacon any day) as well as avocado, tomatoes, eggs, toast, mushrooms and baked beans, which my dining companion said were a particular highlight for her.

Cafe au Lait
I think this might be Bath’s best veggie breakfast…

Having scraped our plates clean with much smacking of lips, we were stuffed but still couldn’t resist trying a little something from the sweet section of the brunch menu – buttermilk pancakes with melted dark chocolate, slices of banana and edible flowers – and I’m glad we did, because they were absolutely outstanding. Each perfect golden pancake was a good inch thick, but as light and fluffy as a pillow, and utterly delicious, especially with plenty of rich dark chocolate and the fresh sweetness of the banana to keep it balanced. The only wrong note for me was the maple syrup which comes on the side – it’s just not needed, and I completely forgot about it as I tucked into my pancake mountain with gusto. The pancakes were so lavish in their proportions that I couldn’t finish my plateful (to be fair, this was my second course) but there was no way I was leaving any of it behind, so I took a doggy bag home, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Cafe au Lait
Just LOOK how fluffy those pancakes are!

Frankly, folks, I was a little bit blown away by Café au Lait’s new menu – everything we tried was absolutely delicious, and I just can’t pick a favourite. It’s certainly the best veggie breakfast I’ve ever had, but they might just be the best pancakes I’ve ever tried too. Fellow brunch fans, get yourselves down there pronto, and take a big appetite.

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