Brunch Club: Cornerstone Café, SE18

For the seventh Brunch Club, we used one of the dates we’d initially set aside for Duck & Waffle. This meant we gathered again on 29th April 2017 at Cornerstone Café, 9 Major Draper Street, London SE18 6GD, less than a week after our last meeting. Having visited plenty of fancy Central London venues, we decided to also try some more casual brunch spots in other parts of the capital. This one is my local and so I know their brunch menu well.

INITIAL BEVERAGES

Lou and Ed (unsurprisingly) ordered tea at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

Lou and Ed (unsurprisingly) ordered tea at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

Lori: Soya flat white. Pleasant, but nothing to write home about.
Lou: Ed and I shared a pot of tea, and then a second which neither of us were convinced by (although the pots were beautiful). I did, however follow on with a pot of Rooibos which was nutty and delicious. Cornerstone do loose leaf tea, if that’s important to you
Eleanor: Flat white, with a bonus flat white that was accidentally brought out! Nice coffee.
Ed: Lou ordered us tea for two as I was a little late getting in. It was loose leaf tea, but seemed slightly underwhelming, the first pot did not have enough loose leaf in there, the second pot we had did have lots of loose leaves in there but I still wasn’t that taken with it. Not sure if the leaves were a bit old and therefore had lost their flavour a bit?

WHAT WE HAD

Eggs Benedict at the Cornerstone Café

Eleanor-approved Eggs Benedict at the Cornerstone Café in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich

Lori: I went for (perfectly cooked) fried eggs and bacon on sourdough toast. (N.B. Even though I usually avoid bread products, sourdough doesn’t have the same effect on me so it was a reasonably safe bet, despite not being gluten free.) For ‘brunch pudding’ the others shared pancakes while I went for the granola with Greek yoghurt, berries and honey, which came in a pretty heart-shaped bowl. I also devoured a pineapple smoothie.
Lou: I opted for sausage and eggs with a twist; perfectly poached eggs on Sourdough, with chorizo sausage, grilled tomatoes and Guacamole. It was such a great dish (although the sausage was a little on the skimpy side) and the guac was amazing. I had pancakes for pudding with Eleanor and Ed which were yummy – almost went for a raspberry pastel de natas in the amazing cake display.

Ed's veggie fry up at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

Ed’s veggie fry up at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich. (Home made veggie sausage is an optional extra.)

Eleanor: Eggs Benedict – I was worried they’d be scarce with the hollandaise sauce but at the end my plate still had sauce on it, a good size portion and very tasty. The pancakes made me audible wow – they were huge! Surprisingly light and fluffy and went really well with the yoghurt and fruit. I had two of the raspberry smoothies as they were very tasty.
Ed: I had the veggie fry up and I forgot to add a homemade veggie sausage to the order, which was £1 extra. Fry up was very nice, but did feel slightly lacking due to the missing sausage. Not sure why they have this arrangement, though as the meat fry up (though a bit more) comes with everything as standard. The pancakes three of us shared were COLOSSAL ! Very nice indeed and a cute little jug of maple syrup to go with it.

The Cornerstone's pancake is literally a cake made in a pan! Eleanor cut into it so this photograph could show how big and fluffy it was!

The Cornerstone’s pancake is literally a panCAKE! We cut in before photographing to try and show how big and fluffy it was!

WAFFLE SITUATION?

Lou: Unfortunately no waffles, but the huge pancakes are a smashing alternative!
Eleanor: There were only packaged waffles for sale by the counter.

Lori and Eleanor enjoying smoothies at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

Lori and Eleanor enjoying smoothies at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?

Lori: Our journeys (Lou and Eleanor ‘drove the bus’, Ed had the joys of going through City Airport on the DLR, and I walked), good illustrators, names, poetry, Harry Potter. No Drag Race chat this week as none of us had watched the latest episode yet.
Lou: I regaled the group with stories about the other people who share my name and the accidental emails I’d received meant for them. We wondered whether we should pitch it as a TV show…
Eleanor: We had a wonderful catch-up after last week being a bit overwhelmed by the view and the food and Drag Race! Names, anagrams, people with the same names as us, photoshoots.
Ed: We had a lot to talk about, which was lovely. We were there for a good two and half hours!

SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS

Lori: A nice bright and friendly place for a relaxed catch up, with a pretty decent brunch menu. They don’t take bookings and you order at the counter, but Eleanor and Lou managed to grab us a booth which was ideal. They have some outside seating too, but it’s a bit cold for that right now!
Lou: Really beautifully designed cafe that also sells condiments, local poetry books and has a community noticeboard. Toilets are a unisex, accessible loo that has a good sized changing table for people with little people. There is only one loo, so there was a queue at times.
Eleanor: I’ve popped here before just for coffee and it was really lovely to see it busy and bright. The decor is a lovely mix of white and stone. As this was a cafe rather than our usual restaurant-like brunch spot, we had to order and pay at the till but this wasn’t a problem.
Ed: Really lovely, it felt like a very friendly local place (if only I’d had my veggie sausage, but that was my fault!) Good standard of brunch and a good relaxing environment.

Granola, yoghurt, fruit and honey at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

Granola, yoghurt, fruit and honey at the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

POST-BRUNCH PLANS

Lori: Nothing was planned in advance, other than a browse of the farmers’ market. After that we walked along the river before heading to the main shopping street, showing Ed the sights of Woolwich (including the first ever McDonalds in the UK).
Lou: After a stroll through the market, the Arsenal and Riverside areas, I had the joy of popping into the huge Wilko’s (no, really, I love that shop) and caught the bus home where I had a lovely long nap!
Eleanor: Wandering with others, then Wilko and a nap!
Ed: We had a pleasant wander by the river and through Woolwich, then I hopped on the boat and headed all the way back to London Bridge, what a treat!

Brunch Club selfie outside the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

Our traditional Brunch Club selfie, outside the Cornerstone Café in Woolwich

FINAL THOUGHTS

Lori: This was the first of our planned visits to brunch venues near where each of us live, so it was lovely to have the other Brunch Clubbers come to my neck of the woods. Fab to properly catch up and do some exploring too. I’m looking already forward to our next (summer) adventure in North London.
Lou: It was fantastic to pop to a proper ‘local’ brunch spot, see the sights around Woolwich and spend some time post-meal with the brunch clubbers. If you are ever down near Woolwich the Cornerstone is a beautiful cafe – highly recommended for good value for money food and drink.
Eleanor: A really lovely spot, and perfect if you’re local. Such a lovely brunch club outing, and it’s great to sample as much of the spectrum of brunches available in London – though we are considering a Brunch Club Day Trip out of the city!
Ed: What a lovely brunch club adventure! It was really great to come down to Woolwich via the very exciting DLR! Really nice to see such a nice welcoming local place.

The image of Cornerstone Café at the top of this post is via thecornerstonecafe.co.uk. All other images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food.

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