London was awash with sunshine again this weekend. It wasn’t warm – at one point I took my thick down jacket off and as soon as I walked into shadow had to put it on again.
Saturday had been a catchup brunch with a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time – the afternoon was a walk around Soho to pick up some books and have a bite of Korean food. The evening was film night, which meant Sam got to choose what we watched on TV. He opted for the TV show full of fairy tales called once upon a time. I made a tart and we hunkered down.
Sam spends most of the weekend rowing in West London, up near Richmond. I rarely head west – trains are unreliable and there’s not as much to do as easy or North. But as I’ve never seen his club house and it looked like a gorgeous day, we linked arms and went for a walk up the river from Barnes to Richmond, past Kew Gardens and around the protruding loop of Kew, past Mortlake and towards Richmond Lock.
In Mortlake Sam wanted to show me Pickle and Rye: he’d raved about this place for years. “You won’t be able to eat anything here,” he said, trying to drag me onwards. I shrugged. “No worries – you said these were the best sandwiches, let’s go on.”
He looked uncomfortable. He always feels bad if he knows I won’t be able to eat much, but I feel constantly guilty about how my stupid allergies have affected our eatin habits as a couple. I’ve always been vegetarian, but the added on allergy extras? He didn’t ask for that.
Pickle and Rye is yummy mummy central, full of privaliged kids asking for more buttermilk pancakes and the ilk. But our server was fabulous and happy, and she brought a ray of sunshine to our table. Juice and tea followed, and I opted for a club california, hold the feta cheese and basil mayo.
“You’re vegan?” Asked our server.
“Try the basil vinaigrette. It’s totally vegan and has the same kind of fragrant kick as the basil mayo does.”
My sandwich was toasted granary, with avocado, mustard cress, basil vinaigrette, tomato, and cucumber. It was zingy, fresh, and perfect for brunch.
Sam had the Cobb sandwich – lots of bacon and avocado. It set us up for the onwards walk to Richmond, and the great service and busy, bustling family atmosphere left a spring in our step.
We’ll know where to turn next time we find ourself in Mortlake.