As Croydon continues to gentrify, so too does its urge to compete in the brunch arms race. We say goodbye to the family run bakery, and say hello to the brick and steel of Rumour Mill, a brunch haven of Croydon Hills, except on Sunday.
Yes Rumour Mill has declared war on Sunday Brunch, opting instead for extended trading hours on school days for parents of children discarded at school gates. It’s an interesting business choice, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting.
Visiting on a sunny Saturday, the scant outside tables are packed, and the interior is looking much the same. Luckily, much of the crowd is just picking up coffees to go, but we don’t discover this for a good five minutes of looking around looking for service. Getting a caffeine itch, we take matters into our own hands and grab a staff member standing idle in a doorway, oblivious to the queue.
Passing through to the main dining area (a secondary meal area is mostly high tables for groups and communal dining), we note a general lack of decor. It’s all exposed brick and steel, with a few suspended plants to break up the earthen colour palette. These are also supported by a rust-coloured steel frame. At least they’re consistent!
With an empty table now secured, we set about ordering our drinks and critiquing the menu. Sweet, savoury and food choices for the exercise conscious are laid simply across the A4 page. As coffee is set before us, we lock in our meal choice.
The single origin coffee is flavoursome, with the hint of citrus and nuts lingering. Milk based varieties have plenty of kick, keeping the milk quantity at a respectable level so as not to dampen the bean taste. Sadly, water is not offered, brought to the table or even shown to us in its alcove across the room. Clearly service is not a priority today.
Food arrives shortly after we order. Portions are large and full of colour, a nice contrast to the barren walls surrounding us. For the sweet tooth, the donut waffles are our pick, served with a caramel ice cream and a strand of fairy floss.
The classic smashed avo is our savoury of choice, being so much more than avocado on toast. Combined with spinach, feta and lemon juice, it’s a hearty choice after a strenuous workout and a good palate cleanser after a heavy Friday night.
Proceeding to the pay station, we are greeted with a smile and asked about our meals. Whilst service was lacking, we can’t fault the friendliness of staff.
Prices are fair considering the portions, and the coffee is good for dining in or takeaway. Not worth travelling out of the city for, but a must for those living in the area.
Rating – 70%