Nestled away in leafy De Beauvoir Town is a gem quietly twinkling.
Having only started serving brunch a month ago, the folks at The Scolt Head pub certainly know their way around this trendy little meal.
A charming pizza-shaped garden greets us out front, but the spitting rain of the dying summer drives us inside.
Greeted by a spacious pub with a rather bunting-heavy interior, the word ‘cosy’ quickly comes to mind.
A deep, almost mustard, orange is picked out with satisfying consistency and the wooden tables are embellished with painted physalis flowers in little vases.
As a relative newcomer to the brunch concept, I wonder if our 1pm slot should be considered a late brunch? But surely it’s just lunch, right?
I am quickly informed by our resident brunch veteran (my plus-one) that it is more a state of mind – and an excuse to drink earlier in the day.
In that spirit, we order two of Nuno’s Bloody Marys and ruminate on what makes them specifically Nuno’s. Turns out, quite a lot. These have a Japanese twist involving Shirodashi sauce, wasabi, togarashi, and port, on top of the expected ingredients – the result is a spicy slap to the face as refreshing as it is dangerous.
With a whole vegan menu, a good selection of brunchy dishes, and full lunch staples, The Scolt Head seems to cater for all. It makes a nice change from the classic five starters, three mains lunch option so often seen about town.
First, we share a plate of the heritage tomatoes, in all their multicoloured wonder, with goat’s curd, organised attractively on sourdough toast. Both creamy, fresh, and photogenic enough to rival that selfie you put on your Instagram last night (try not to be depressed about being digitally eclipsed by food – it’s what the people want!).
Having divided and decimated this starter, the mains trundle over in quick time.
I opt for a bone marrow burger, with oozing comté cheese that will warm your heart. Melted onions and a brioche bun ensure that the affair is a sweet spin on a classic burger.
My brunch-bosom-pal goes straight for what I am told is a must-have: Scolt Benedict, with a wedge of ham so thick you could use it as a doorstop, perfectly poached eggs, and a smokey hollandaise sauce, on brioche toast.
The dish is a touch too buttery, but the gooey goodness brings a smile to all involved. How do you like your eggs in the morning indeed?
Admirable dedication to the pub’s colour scheme is evident in the bathrooms, with orange Penguin Classics book covers demarcating the gendered loos.
Having to stare at Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea every time one goes to the toilet would be rather irksome for someone who detests his work (speaking for a friend), nevertheless the joke is a good one.
Margaret Irwin adorns the ladies’ loo, and we can only surmise how she would feel staring at Hemingway across the corridor.
Our waiter Lou keeps the Bloody Marys coming, and with the spice-laden fries, the whole meal is a sweet and flaming experience.
Lastly, I travel on alone to the land of puddings, deserted by my companion. I pitch for the Espresso martini affogato.
Although slightly gimmicky, with Lou popping over to pour a shot of Espresso martini affogato over two balls of vanilla ice-cream, it does add some welcome drama to a tart and tantalising dessert.
The space is filled with the sounds of a thriving pub – a good mix of families and younger groups, dogs perched on laps outside, and life flowing in all its glory throughout the building.
The new brunch menu is the next step in a long line of community-focused ventures for The Scolt Head, with local resident and celebrated chef Nuno Mendes teaming up with the owner Rosie Wesemann to create the Friday and Saturday feast (10am-4pm, so don’t be late).
But that’s not all for this little pub with a big heart.
Frozen Glory is an initiative they started in April just when everything was going wrong Covid-wise. It brings the best of the pub’s food offerings to people’s homes.
Rosie herself delivers weekly meals to members of the Freedom Club, a group of locals aged 60 and over who used to meet every Tuesday in the pub for films, gossip, and stitching. My poor ticker is truly thawed and in a puddle on the floor. A local oasis serving scrumptious food with friendly charm, that also helps out the elderly? Please take our money and custom!
For a tangerine-tinted day spent filling up with spicy drinks and warming grub, you could do a lot worse than wandering along to 107A Culford Road in De Beauvoir Town, where something truly special is going on.