Harden's survey result
“Lovely for a breakfast or lunch snack, and with good bread etc to buy to take home” – Lady Bamford’s faux-rustic organic cafés can make a good choice for a posh brunch, despite toppish prices and historically variable service. In October 2018, the brand arrives in its spiritual London home, with a large new ‘Farmshop and Café’ near chichi Brompton Cross.
“Great healthy brunches” help draw a busy crowd to Lady Bamford’s rus-in-urbis organic cafés. Service can be variable and even “sniffy” however, and high prices are a recurring concern: “the food is nice, but it is SO expensive that I always feel a little bit ripped off!”
“You feel like the food’s doing you good (although it probably isn’t!)”, at Lady Bamford’s “bright” (but “crowded” and slightly “chaotic”) organic-branded cafés, hailed by fans for their “fresh and healthy” dishes, including “lovely breakfasts served in quirky metal pans”.
Lady Bamford’s painstakingly stylish organic cafés – now also in Marylebone – are most often tipped for brunch; more generally they are “decent enough but too expensive for what they are”, and service “lacks focus”.
Daylesford Organics SW1
Organic' isn't necessarily the same as 'green'. The two concepts so often go hand in hand, though, that there's something discordant about first impressions of this Pimlico palace to organicism, given that it's so ostentatiously marbled, and so wantonly brightly-lit. Backed as the place is by the helicopter-loving (JC) Bamford family, however, it's no great surprise that there's nothing particularly hair-shirted about the goodness on offer here.
In fact, especially on Saturday mornings, the place has become the rallying point for 'le tout Belgravia', and can be quite a zoo. A City PR button-holed one of us in the adjacent farmers' market, one such morning, to instruct us to award a drubbing for the appalling service. Consider it done, sir. Off-peak, however, our experience has been that the staff are very pleasant, if still somewhat slow, and not entirely together. It can't help that the marbled dining counters and the produce for retail sale are rather jumbled up.
On the food front, the best advice here is to remember that - though quite an extensive menu is offered - this is basically a posh deli, and cooking is not a core deli function. So a good chicken and pistachio terrine with toast 'n' chutney, for example, is likely to eclipse a hot dish centred on rather turgid (organic) cod. As you would hope, though, the coffee, bread and cakes are reliable. And the mark-up for eating-in is lower than you might perhaps expect.
'¢ A less obvious choice for a light meal in the vicinity is the elegant and understated new pizza 'n' pasta offshoot of the estimable local stalwart Caraffini. Reasonably-priced but very professionally run, Vivezza is at 101 Pimlico Road (tel 7730 0202).
all day noon - 8 pm, Sun 5 pm
Last orders: 6 pm, Sun 3 pm