July 7th, 2020
On Saturday, I had brunch at Juliets Quality Foods in Tooting. That’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d be writing any time soon, but here we are. Was I sure of my decision to dine-out again? No. Not at all. Let’s discuss.
I am obsessed with restaurants. Like, obsessed. If I had to draw a picture of my soul it would probably be a lot of gold wiggly lines, Lassie’s face, and ‘restaurant fangirl’ written in all-caps. And yet, when I heard that restaurants would be allowed to reopen, my first thought wasn’t hand-pulled noodles, cacio e pepe, or comté fries. No, my first thought was my grandparents tucked away in Dorset, my chronically ill mother, and the manic scenes of my hometown beach flooded with litter and people that had gone all Lord Of The Flies over a small dose of freedom. I was concerned. But as July 4th approached, I knew I wanted to support restaurants and eat out.
I set out with one of my trusty masks - herein named Jedi Bane due to it’s uncanny ability to make me look like the lovechild of Darth Vader and Tom Hardy - and quite a lot of anxiety. Here’s how it went.
Why did you choose Juliets?
I was planning on going to this super popular Tooting brunch spot before lockdown so it felt quite Circle of Life for it to be my first visit after reopenings. Plus, my friends worship it in a near fanatical way. They talk about the pistachio cake with yuzu icing the way I spoke about Channing Tatum’s abs as a teenager. So perfectly formed. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before. Just so… beautiful.
What was it like when you got there?
Walking in was both very weird and entirely lovely. Exposed brick! The smell of merguez sausages! Human beings that weren’t my flatmate! Oh, and hand sanitizer, obviously.
Did it feel safe?
Yes, totally. Surreal, but safe. I took Jedi Bane off as you have zero physical contact with the servers. You scan a QR code with your phone to see the menu, order, and pay. All of the cutlery and plates are disposable. When customers left, a server diligently wiped down their seats and the table. I went off-peak, but it was very roomy thanks to their brand new space next door.
Tell me more.
Well, whilst casually stalking Juliets’ Instagram for majestic pictures of eggs before my visit, I saw that they have taken over the restaurant next door to allow for full social distancing - dubbed the ’Summer ‘20 Socially Distanced Terrazzo’. I peaked my head in and it basically looks like a Moroccan courtyard that demands at least four glasses of sparkling wine. Serious hustle to create this space in a week. Clap, clap, clap.
So, how was the food?
Fuck me up, it was great. I had The Original and The Best, their breakfast patty muffin, a meaty epiphany that permanently erased every studenthood McMuffin from my memory in a single bite. And the chefs here are obviously serious flavour nerds, in the best possible way. The smoked heritage potato omelette comes with whipped goat’s cheese. The ‘Cimi the Rapper’ flatbread is stuffed with fermented chickpea farinata. And the hash browns are smothered in cave-aged Lincolnshire poacher cheese. The only cave-aged thing I’ve come into contact with in the last three months was myself. Incredible. The ‘hungover sauce’ is also a must.
What’s ‘hungover sauce’?
It’s Juliets’ homemade chipotle ketchup and I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but it will be Prime Minister one day.
Were your friends right about the pistachio cake?
Yes. Channing Tatum’s abs are dead to me. This is my number one hun now. I’ll avoid any and all moist jokes, but seriously, the yuzu icing is wild. The marshmallow, chocolate, and sea salt cookie was also super tasty.
Will you be dining out again soon?
Maybe. Yes. Probably. It’s obviously going to take a hot minute for eating out to feel safe again. Same goes for wearing shoes and not watching eight hours of Parks and Recreation a day.
Should I eat out too?
That’s entirely up to you. If you do decide that you’re ready to venture back out, just make sure you’re being understanding, patient, and cleaning your mitts. Obviously masks and eau de hand sanitiser have all the sex appeal of a foot fungus, but it’s also really important to protect restaurant workers right now. Especially when they’re making the best pistachio cake in London.
Do you have thoughts or questions about dining in London right now? Give us a shout. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.