The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kalendar, Highgate

15a Swains Lane
020 8348 8300

by Mabel Syrup

Anonymous said, “Some one should try Kalendar in Swains Lane, that is the best breakie in nw5, you won’t be disappointed”.

“We shall take up this challenge” cried Mabel to her Malcolm one hungry Saturday morning.

It was a slight set back when it was discovered that Swains Lane neither exists in NW5, nor in certain A to Zs. Nerves were calmed, however, and stomachs shushed when it was found nestled at the bottom of Parliament Hill (N6 for anyone who’s counting).

Kalendar is set in a line of attractive cafes all equally brimming with people and regarding them on this morning was to arrive at the crest of the hill and see the beautiful sparkling sea you have been yearning for. This feeling continued past the man eating French toast and bananas, the delicatessen brimming with fresh cheeses and breads, the unmatching wooden chairs and tables that give the feeling of a large country kitchen, the iced tap water that arrived promptly, right up until the first piece of cutlery pierced the first item on our plates.

Kalendars’ English Breakfast filled us with promise; a handsome sausage, two organically shaped poached eggs, a robust strip of bacon, perfectly charred tomatoes and a slightly-too-large pool of baked beans.

I can’t begin to describe my disappointment when I discovered the sausage to be undercooked and an actual gag ensued after a bite of almost utterly raw egg. This is one of the saddest breakfasts I have had. Kalendar obviously know about good food and the importance of high quality ingredients yet we suffered the results of trying to cater for too many people in too little time. I would revisit Kalendar as I have faith it can succeed, but perhaps on a weekday, and perhaps I would have the French toast.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kalendar is pretty near to me and I've been there quite a few times. I think you may have hit a bad time for the reason you say, I hate the place crowded. Try a breakfast at 11 mid-week. Their Eggs Bendict are damn fine. One of the best burgers in London, you should know too, and this from a North American who almost never finds good ones in London.


12:32 PM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Does anyone know if this location is related to the Kalendar in Toronto? here is the link to their site:

3:46 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger doctorwhy said...

Oh no, what a terrible experience. I have been a fan of Kalendar for the last couple of years, but do hate the service at times, and the fact that the outside is filled with dogs on a sunny day (this may not be a problem for most...but I dislike dogs. However, nothing beats a walk on Parliament hill to work off the breakfast. Have you tried the Mozart Cafe right next door? I always feel bad for neglecting it.

3:25 AM, April 28, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live locally and love to eat Al Fresco as do alot of people, however I find this novalty at Kalendar on Swains Lane to be wearing thin. Kalendar's selection has become a bit bleak and outright extortionate. Presently I am sitting in front of a piece of dried out cheesecake which I paid top £££ for, and earlier today had a friend order a carrot juice with ginger added and paid over £4. Unfortunately it is the old story of the owner operator now farming out the work to employees without mainting the high levels of quality it is renownded for. The quaint village atmosphere Swains Lane provides will draw a crowd on nice sunny days, but be aware...pull your socks back up Kalendar! Not impressed.

3:44 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had intended visiting Kalendar but after reading the reviews I will certainly give it a miss, at least if its pricey you expect quality and service.

1:57 PM, February 10, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well i regularly hop between Kalendar and Mozart and can't distinguish any difference at all in the quality of the breakfasts; sometimes the bacon's crispy sometimes its not. Usually the sausages are ok. I like the almond croissants. And the coffee's not bad. Its not the best, but find I get served fairly fast unless its terribly crowded, which does happen. I personally find the cute infants more of a hazard and worse behaved than the dogs. The other problem is noise, people in Hampstead don't care who can hear their conversations.

7:43 PM, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Tori said...

I came to Kalendar on my day off, looking for the perfect brunch. I chose this place having looked at reviews everywhere, and it lived up to the hype. I had a table outside, looking onto the quiet street, and the friendly waiter took my order of French toast. I was relieved that the brunch was on all day, and wasn't kept waiting- my French toast (warm brioche) arrived dripping in maple syrup with fresh bananas, and it was delicious. When I asked for some more syrup the waiter brought out a tall old-fashioned bottle that I could pour to my hearts content. Thanks for a tasty friendly brunch experience.

9:39 PM, October 25, 2010  
Anonymous London Personal Trainer said...

For the record, Kalendar has taken over next door's Cafe Mozart. Although, rather than knocking through the dividing wall, they've chosen to operate the two locations separately - ie: two different counters serving the same menu and two different sets of waiter service.

12:12 PM, March 08, 2012  
Anonymous Catherine said...

Interesting that they have taken over Cafe Mozart. From what I remember the person who started up Kalendar used to work at Cafe Mozart many years ago. I haven't been there for at least 3 years. Must go back this summer.

4:13 PM, March 26, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad about the Cafe Mozart demise. When I lived in north London (summer 1993 to summer 2006) I used to go there regularly. Back then, neither the Mozart nor Kalendar were famous for their service, I do believe. Still, great places.....

12:51 PM, September 21, 2012  

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