Esca has one of those mouth-watering window displays that stops you dead in your tracks. Before you know it you’re walking back out again with a meringue the size of your head, a sugary apple pastry bulging with clotted cream and an entire carrot cake, because, well, it’s your un-birthday. Firmly established as the go-to deli, patisserie and café for Clapham locals, it’s the perfect place for a spot of brunch on the weekend, to relax and enjoy a coffee, or to pick up a healthy lunch to go. I went to check it out… and to find out how many sweet treats I could consume in one meeting.
If you’re a foodie looking for a pit stop, Esca is your place. All the food is made fresh from scratch and honestly does taste as good as it looks. It’s a homely, warm space, with floor-to-ceiling shelves brimming with artisan olive oils, pastas, jars of jam and chutney, and a million other treats. There’s even a sliding steel ladder (very Santa’s elves-esque), so you can climb up and grab the goodies at the top.
The décor is simple and chic, with wooden elm floors, long sociable benches and twisted copper tube lighting - a real spectacle to look at. With free wifi, it’s always busy with students tapping away on laptops, and there’s even a child-friendly corner with books, toys and crayons to keep the little ones entertained.
Breakfast and brunch are popular, both with locals popping in for an egg and bacon butty and a coffee to go and with those wanting to sit in and enjoy a sky high plate of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup. Cooked breakfast is buffet style, so plate up then head to the counter to pay. There’s plump sausages, light and fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, crunchy hash browns, homemade baked beans and freshly baked bread - and everything is cooked to perfection.
For lunch, there’s a huge selection of dishes available from the long deli counter. Make a sandwich with their freshly made fillings and bread baked that morning, choose a flavoursome pasta dish with a rocket, tomato and mozzarella salad, or create your own lunchbox by picking and choosing from their range of healthy dishes. Of course the window display of sweet treats is very distracting, so if you leave with a little sugary something, make sure it’s a fluffy mille foille or one of their chocolate rum truffle and crushed hazelnut slices - heaven. All their cakes are sold by the slice and they also can make beautiful cakes to order, perfect if you need something special for a special occasion.
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