Esca started life in 2004, as a popular bakery in Clapham High Street. After several years of booming business, it was reborn as a coffee shop, bakery and restaurant specialising in Mediterranean cuisine. It belongs to the Eco Group of restaurants, a family business started by restaurateur Sami Wasif and his wife Laura. You might know them better as the founders of Franco Manca and Michelin starred Hakkasan. Together the company owns four other restaurants in London – Eco Pizza, The Peppertree Thai Restaurant (both in Clapham Common), Absolutely Starving! Grocer and Delicatessen in London Bridge and Camden Bakery. Esca is an all-day venue but on Fridays and Saturdays evenings they also have a dinner menu.
We tried their brunch offering on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The first thing that you notice when you enter the premises is the impressive array of fresh pastries and baked goods. Its foundation as a bakery is evident here. Everything is baked daily from scratch on the premises and supplied to its other sister restaurants. Alongside the sweet and baked delights, they also do a hot food counter with daily rotating specials, quiches, pies and sausage rolls – all beautifully homemade.
The day menu is compact and features crowd pleasing brunch staples alongside in house specialities. One of their highlights is the Shakshuka | Tomato Sauce, Spicy Harissa and Feta cheese. Kris was all over this and even upgraded his with additional chorizo and sausage.
I sampled one of their House Creations – London Vegetarian. It comes with Cornbread, Melted Smoked Mozzarella, Poached Eggs, Spiced Tomato Chutney, Avocado and Coriander. It was packed full of flavour and bursting with colours. Only niggle was that it was slightly under-seasoned and I found the corn bread a bit bland on its own. But as we discovered during the course of our eating, it went swimmingly well dunked into the rich tomatoey goodness of the shakshuka.
We were also very tempted by their enormous homemade sausage rolls so we ordered one as well as a spinach and feta parcel to bulk our meal up. The sausage roll particularly impressed with its fresh taste, delicate flavoring and quality meat.
A zingy orange juice and well-made flat white kept us hydrated.
Esca is perfect for neighbourhood eating. Expect freshly cooked, nourishing food, easy going service at prices that doesn’t break the bank.
Location : 160 Clapham High St, Clapham, London SW4 7UG
Website : Esca
Disclaimer: Our meal was complimentary but all opinions and photos are mine