The Pepper Tree does fantastic Thai food in London. Dinners – moist, more-ish Crab and Prawn Dim Sum, spicy Chicken Jungle Curry with the light fragrance of lemongrass, huge bowls of hot & sour Tom Yam Talay, all of which would be reason enough to visit time and time again… but we’re here to talk about a meal that some may deem more important than all others- breakfast.
For those in the know, you maybe aware that these days, Clapham stalwart The Pepper Tree has a treat in store for those who are able to scrape themselves from their pit of hungover doom and make the brisk stroll across the common to culinary sanctuary.
Having been the primary Thai cuisine provider for over 15 years, this canteen-style dining establishment has decided to broaden its horizons and for weekends only, provide some seriously hearty morning fare. Be gone greasy spoons, away with you pale, limp sausage with 2% pork content… there’s a new kid in town.
Settling in for a leisurely morning of dining, our fabulous waitress recommended we kick off with a couple of coffees that’d make a Parisian café proud and a pair of nutritious (yet delicious… obvs) raw juices. To blow the cobwebs of sleep away, I opted for the ‘Clarifying’ beverage- a tall, ice cold glass of carrot, apple and ginger to help me feel pretty smug about myself.
Appetites raring to go, we got stuck into a three-course banquet of delights, starting with a little bowl of Congee – a popular dish throughout Asia but done particularly well in Thailand. Found on every corner and in every street food market, you can grab this meal at any time of the day or night throughout the Kingdom and the Pepper Tree Well, it does a pretty stellar one- fabulously hench rice porridge was loaded to the brim with lemon-grass infused pork balls, fat shrimp and tons of garlic and ginger. Next time… I’m going for the bigger bowl!
The main courses (which feels weird to say this early in the morning) were absolutely killer… rather than authentic dishes for this part of the menu, the Pepper Tree goes for a Thai twist on Western favourites which, in my mind, absolutely works.
My dining partner got well and truly stuck into a light, fragrant smoked salmon and avocado omelette topped with a magical creamed kaffir lime yoghurt. It was wonderful but… I was too busy enjoying mine to pay it much heed to be honest.
Being a massive glutton, I wanted a breakfast as big as a house and found it in The Pepper Tree Breakfast. Essentially, a fry up without the frying, the Thai flavours that enhanced the meal took away that heavy feeling you often get after a full English. The homemade lemongrass sausages were a revelation, the chilli poached eggs delicately handled and the garlic mushrooms? I couldn’t get enough. We loved the addition of the sweetcorn cake, crisp and heavenly when joined by the beans.
Thinking that we couldn’t eat another bite, the idea of a breakfast dessert was too good to pass up. Step up giant bowl of coconut sticky rice with huge wedges of sweet mango, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey- the sort of dish that you know you should stop eating after the huge amounts of food that’s already passed your lips but well… just can’t.
If you find it impossible to rise before noon on a weekend then mark my words, fill your room with a multitude of garish alarm clocks, enough to create a veritable cacophony of noise and force yourself out of bed. The journey may seem long but the reward? Oh so worth it.