As the rain finally descends, many of us are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief as we run outside and nurse our third degree burns. It’s certainly been an excruciating week, with reports of ice-cream related violence, cats on fire, and central line commuters melting and fusing together into a conjoined mass of horror.
Vital, everyday tasks such as breathing, walking, and eating brunch, have been incredibly challenging in this blistering heatwave, and when Steak and I found ourselves waiting for a table at Buhler & Co last weekend, we questioned why we weren’t eating blocks of ice in an air-conditioned supermarket instead.
Fortunately for our teeth, we were eventually seated, and proceeded to look through the small but varied brunch menu. As always, I honoured my hypocritical oath and ordered the sweet option – salted caramel french toast with raspberries, chocolate sauce, and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
The salted caramel and hazelnut brioche bread – which is made in-house, was impressive to say the least, with a texture that was thick and cakey, yet light all the same. However, the salted caramel elements within the toast failed to come through with a significant “oomph”, which resulted in a very mild sense of disappointment. Despite this, the toast was complemented well by the sweetness of the chocolate sauce and the tartness of the raspberries, and all of these components were contrasted by the cool vanilla ice cream – though, it must be said that the vanilla ice cream was also somewhat muted.
Salted caramel & hazelnut french toast (£8.50)
Steak meanwhile, had opted for the “Vege fry up”, which consists of a fried or poached egg on request, a fried corn and polenta cake, paratha, grilled halloumi, garlic butter, seasonal greens, smashed avocado, a portobello mushroom and a house-made BBQ and black bean sauce.
The poached egg was quite simply cooked to perfection, and oozed a graceful pool of yolk once sliced open. The fried corn and polenta cake meanwhile, was reminiscent of a dhokla, and offered a pleasant, spongey texture, and a light, savoury touch. The housemade BBQ beans meanwhile, lacked the powerful sweet, smokey kick that its name would suggest, but still went hand in hand with the crispy paratha.
Vege fry-up (£10.50)
Our brunch was promptly followed up with a pair of flat whites, which were slightly thin and unbalanced, but reasonably satisfying all the same.
Staff members meanwhile, remained incredibly friendly and attentive, from the moment we stumbled in on the verge of a heat stroke, to the moment we stumbled out on the verge of a food coma.
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Our total bill amounted to approximately £24 with service, which we felt was a more than reasonable amount. Generally, breakfast and brunch items range from £8 to £10, and portions are certainly rather generous, given that both Steak and I had to put up a mild fight to finish our plates.
Decor / Ambience: 4/5
As a summer brunch destination, Buhler & Co offers a rather attractive set of dining spaces – both indoors and outdoors. Both areas are furnished with light, wooden furniture and subtle floral elements. The cafe can be found a 10 minute walk away from Walthamstow Central station, and paid parking can be found at the Bedford Road car park a couple of streets away.
Amongst the numerous brunch destinations across London, Buhler & Co sits very much within the middle ground – neither exemplary, nor mediocre. But, in East London, where brunch and breakfast is usually reduced to the likes of greasy spoons and questionable “cafes”, Buhler & Co offers the taste of a fresh, clean, summer. Though it may not be a brunch destination that I would envisage visiting again, it is certainly one that I would recommend checking out.
Halal status: No halal meat is served here, but non-meat / vegetarian options are numerous.
Buhler & Co
Address: 8 Chingford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4PJ
Telephone: 020 8527 3652