It feels like forever since I last went out for brunch so when the opportunity arose mid-week to meet my best friend in Holborn I made a snap decision to visit The Black Penny.
We met up fairly early but timings (which we’re both pretty bad at) need not have been an issue because TBP is one of those great places that serves all-day brunch.
They’re open from 8am to 8pm so whether you’re after your early morning breakfast fix, a healthy evening meal or something in between, they’ve got you covered. The outside of the coffee shop is non descript, I very nearly walked straight past it but as soon as you step in there’s a buzzing atmosphere. The assortment of coffee beans and patisserie options all laid out against the faux rustic decor feels welcoming.
When asking for a table we were asked straight away whether we’re eating as tables are not available for people who just want a drink. After clarifying we were taking through to the seating area and I can see exactly why.
There is very limited seating and they don’t take bookings. If you’re planning on going during peak times there’s pretty much a minimum of 45 minutes wait.
All I can say is thank God for mid week brunches!
The menu is short but very well thought out. They are a little bit more adventurous than the usual avo on toast, using the very best of seasonal British ingredients. Definitely something I can get on board with.
Since I don’t eat meat that isn’t halal, it usually narrows my options down greatly. Even still, on such a small menu I liked that there was more than just one option for me. I did however ask if I could mix and match – I wanted the veggie hash with all the trimmings that came with the duck hash but apparently they “don’t do that”. Strange really because they’re both priced the same and I don’t understand what difference it makes but yeah.
To be honest I’ve heard from a few people that the service isn’t great – and it wasn’t. The waitresses were not attentive at all and often quite abrupt to customers.
In the end we both went for ‘The Gatherer’ – Eggs how you like ’em, sourdough toast, grilled halloumi, sautéed spinach, roasted tomatoes, mushroom and Black Penny beans.
We opted for an iced mocha too. Perhaps I’ve become too much of a basic bitch and expected a Starbucks-esque style drink. When it arrived it was literally just coffee with some ice cubes in. Not great.
The food came in a reasonable amount of time and it looked good.
Everything had been cooked well, it was presented nicely and the portion was a nice size. Not necessarily generous but nice. Overall it was a good meal. I loved what the Black Penny beans brought to the overall taste.
If there was one small criticism I would say they could have given one more slice of toast. It wasn’t too much of an issue for me personally as I can never finish my food 😳
The iced coffee was £4.00 and the food was £12.90. Considering it’s central London I didn’t bat an eyelid but now that I’m typing this up I’m aware that it can seem extortionate. Especially the “iced” ice cubed coffee. I guess that’s London for you.
Would I recommend The Black Penny? If you’re in the area (at a non peak time) then yeah I would. The food was enjoyable as was the atmosphere.
Will I be returning? Definitely not for the iced coffee but for brunch, absolutely – provided it’s not during peak hours!
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