18 Market Row
020 7501 9152
by Charlotte Brontëa
Do you remember breakfast before Instagram? How the porridge steamed, the bacon sizzled, and the tomatoes sputtered from the grill?
And how when you took a first mouthful, the porridge still steamed, the bacon still sizzled and the tomatoes still sputtered?
Post-Instagram, breakfast is never warm. It may arrive steaming, sizzling and sputtering, but then iPhones are raised, pictures are taken and re-taken, filters applied, captions written, and, finally, uploaded. Cold porridge follows.
Little wonder that avocado on toast has attracted such cultish devotion. It’s the only dish on a breakfast menu that doesn’t suffer for being eaten cold.
It is a blessing then that at Salon, a restaurant, delicatessen and charcuterie in Brixton market, they do the Instagramming for you.
Wake up on a Sunday morning and photographs of that day’s #brunchspesh have already been uploaded from the kitchen: grilled Old Spot pork loin, fried egg, runner beans, chilli, garlic and ginger one weekend; lamb shoulder, asparagus hash, wild garlic and a fried egg the next. The ingredients are artfully arranged, the lime wedge tilted just so.
If your tastes are more conventional there is ‘super seed’ porridge with almond milk (Instagram loves a nut milk); soft-boiled eggs and anchovy on sourdough toast; and smoked salmon with a buttermilk scone.
They will do you a Bloody Mary (bloody good) or an avocado, kale, kiwi, banana and almond milk smoothie. On Instagram this is tagged: #avos, #greenstuff, #kalekaleandmorekale.
The (obligatory) smashed avocado on toast, smoked pig’s cheeks lardons and poached duck egg is better even than the photos promise. The warm banana bread with hazelnut ganache is not just warm, but piping, fingertip-burning hot from the oven.
As you contemplate a second slice, a deliveryman arrives from Kent with vegetables for that night’s dinner. The chef leaves his kitchen and comes front of house to crunch through radishes, pare asparagus spears and pop beans from their pods before signing the invoice. Such earthy care for produce and provenance is admirably, reassuringly old-fashioned – and not readily captured on Instagram.