Panorama of a cafe, with glass windows to a lake covered in green algea with trees behind. To the left side is more cafe, with a glass window to a park outside and a small dog. The tables and chairs are wood, bright and clean.

Pavilion Cafe

Panorama of a cafe, with glass windows to a lake covered in green algea with trees behind. To the left side is more cafe, with a glass window to a park outside and a small dog. The tables and chairs are wood, bright and clean.

[Not at the Pavilion Cafe] On Tuesday 23 August 2022 at 08:50 in the morning at a different cafe nearby, I paid £15.25 for a hipster breakfast of smashed avocado with smoked salmon, eggs and toast. At 09:23 I asked where my breakfast was. They said the receipt printer was broken so they hadn’t started making my breakfast. I asked for my money back. They said they couldn’t because the manager isn’t in for another half hour. I said I’d walk away and give them a bad review – which I’m kind of doing now.

[Also not at the Pavilion Cafe] I then went to a different cafe, a yoga studio with a hipster ‘plant based kitchen’ or something. As Eliza Dolittle gently serenaded me on the stereo, I read the brunch menu and settled on a noodle soup for £12.50. The hipster guy on the bar told me food starts at 12:00. I told him they had a different idea of brunch to me and walked out. A bunch of people were staring at their laptops (the website says that you can book co-working.) It was about the least mindful thing I’ve ever seen.

[At the Pavilion Cafe] So, I ended up at the Pavilion Cafe in Southwark Park around 10am. I asked if they are open, they said yes. I asked if they were doing food and pointed at the menu on the wall. Yes, they said, they are doing everything on the menu. I had a jacket potato with cheese and beans with salad garnish for £7.90 and a wonderful time was had by all. And the hanger diminished.

[Still at the Pavilion Cafe] It has a wonderful view of the lake on one side, and the park on the other. An old man in a high-vis vest asked if I minded him propping open a door to the lake (I didn’t) and was joined by other grey-haired men in sports direct casual clothes for a cup of builders tea. A man who looked to be both the manager of the cafe, related to all the other staff (the go-getting entrepreneurial Delboy cousin perhaps?) complained about the state of the public toilets in the park last night, and colluded to get them cleaned.

So I’d highly recommend breakfast/brunch at the Pavilion Cafe. By 10:35 I was fed, watered, not hangry… calm-even, and had written this. Skip the hipster cafes, and fake tranquility. And head for the real thing and the Pavilion Cafe.

[Daydreaming] It reminded me a bit of how the West treats developing countries, as I remembered spotting the African and Asian chefs struggling with the printer in the hipster kitchen [not in the Pavilion Cafe]. And as I sit here in the Pavilion Cafe, with all walks of life eating together I can’t help thinking there’s a life lesson here.

A middle-class mum opposite the sports direct lads, helps her child with Nutella on his face, dog walkers chat, ducks quack, swans glide, and a bloke on roller-blades gets pulled past, hoiked by a bunch of dogs in pink vests al la the Bodyform advert.

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