Brazas Restaurant, Brixton
45 Tulse Hill
020 8678 0697
by Egg Miliband
Down the back of Brazas, thick louvres block out the sunlight. I am here with my usual breakfast companion Ivan, and my brother Frank and his two-year-old daughter Ngaire. In the dimness, the four of us sit at our table like moths in a wardrobe.
The menu is hearty but rather solemn. There’s the Full, the Mini, the Omelette with French Fries and the Breakfast Bagel. But the ‘vegetarian sausage’ option on the Veggie Breakfast has been blacked out! There’s something jokey and jolly about the vegetarian sausage option – it is the definition of ‘silly sausage’ – and I’m always cheered to see it on offer. So I order my old friend, scrambled eggs on toast. Frank is second-breakfasting, so he orders the ‘dessert breakfast’: pancakes. Ivan orders a bagel. Ngaire has an orange juice, to which she adds the crushed petals of a flower she picked earlier.
At this point, review etiquette demands that I mention the cakes. When you enter Brazas, the first thing you see is a display cabinet festooning with fancy cakes and meringues in full bloom. One reviewer reports that a gateaux made her ‘cry with delight’. My cake-mentioning duty is now fulfilled. What of the breakfast?
A friendly waiter in a neon shirt delivers our meals, two of which look bouquet-fresh – the pancakes piled high with banana and blueberries, the bagel a riot of poached egg, bacon, and mushrooms – but my scrambled eggs seem reluctant to be eaten. The toast is basic multigrain, unbuttered, with one slice forming a central stage for the eggs and two triangles acting as the wings. Sourdough would’ve been more stylish, a hand-cut pat of butter more flirtatious. But as it turns out, the only thing that has let me down is my scrambled-egg snobbery. These are fine, upstanding eggs. This is a meal my grandparents would’ve tucked into while reading the paper together. ‘Nothing wrong with those hens,’ they would’ve said approvingly. Then they would've opened the window to let some sun in, but never mind.
Despite the ‘strange toughness’ of his pancakes, Frank leaves a shining plate and declares it good. Ivan hasn’t said anything about his poached-egg-and-bacon bagel, but he eats it rapidly, with keen focus, and in the future, he will talk with nostalgia of the bacon.
Just down the road from Brazas is a takeaway called The Olympic Kebab. I hope this attracted thousands of tourists during the Olympics, some of whom, nonplussed, wandered down to Brazas.