The Daisy Green Collection are a prominent fixture on the London Brunch scene. Their collection of classic Aussie-style, breezy cafes serving fresh and healthy food has given us more reasons why we needn’t bother to get that frying pan out every Saturday morning to cook breakfast.
My first experience of the Daisy Green Collection happened to be their latest opening – Darcie and May Green. My reason for picking this particular one was because I like to experience something different, even when I am having my 100th Avocado-on-Toast. In this case, it is the venue itself that trumps all other Daisy Green cafes for me.
Darcie Green and May Green are the names of twin 50m long barges floating over the Grand Union Canal, just outside Paddington Station. Darcie is an all-day dining restaurant, where we were perched for our brunch. May Green is a full-fledged bar and coffee shop dishing out delicious smoothies during the day and smashing out cocktails during the evenings. Both barges have impressive colourful artwork on their exteriors designed by Sir Peter Blake.
In contrast, the boat interiors are clean and minimal in style: simple open kitchen, lots of light wood and colourful, mismatched furniture.
I was meeting my friend P for brunch and a long overdue catch up. It was a wet London day so the upper deck was closed, but I imagine that in summer this space will be packed to the rafters. Whilst the boat is floating and you can feel the slight vibrations, it’s anchored to the canal so for those who have problems with motion or sea sickness (i.e. me) it is absolutely fine. Just an occasional jerk from a passing boat reminds you that we are actually on water.
The Brunch menu is split up into two sections. Lighter dishes like Granola and Porridge Pots make up what is a fairly limited and mostly sweet First Course section from the menu. But it is the more comprehensive list of larger plates where they seem to push the boat out (sorry). A Bottomless Brunch option at £39.5 per person is also available that offers a dish from each course and two hours of unlimited Prosecco and Mimosas. On this occasion we went straight for the larger dishes and skipped the BB option (but will definitely try for next time).
For my meal, I ordered The Bondi (£13.6). You could describe it as the Aussie version of The Full English that included Back Bacon, Poached Free Range Eggs, Sausages, Mushrooms, House made Chilli Pesto, Avocado and Charcoal Bread. It is possible to customise it like I did, by swapping the mushrooms (because I am allergic) for an extra egg or bacon. All the ingredients were quality and freshly cooked. No limpy salad leaves, over dried eggs under the heat lamp or blackened avocado here. I especially loved the homemade chilli pesto and the charcoal bread that added an extra touch to a standard cooked breakfast.
P went for the Broccoli and Corn Fritters (£12.4), with Poached Free Range Egg, Avocado and house-made chilli pesto. She also customised it by swapping the poached for scrambled eggs. I had a little nibble of her fritters and the scrambled eggs and both tasted delicious. Her criticism was the slight scatty presentation – everything felt a bit plonked on her plate. P is also a vegetarian and her opinion was that there were not enough unique and interesting savoury vegetarian options (besides the fritters and shakshuka) available besides the many different versions of the classic avocado-on-toast.
At the end of the day, I personally enjoyed my first Daisy Green experience. The food was good enough, company was great and the nautical setting was quirky and exciting for me. I can get a good brunch in many places in London. But the whole brunch-on-a boat experience by itself warrants a visit to this place. It’s a cute spot for a catch up with friends or a casual date. As far as brunch places go, this one definitely floats my boat!
Location: Sheldon Square, London W2 6DS
More information can be found here.