At the weekend, my mum and I joined the thousands of people flocking to see the poppies at the Tower of London. Task completed, we found ourselves desperately searching for somewhere that would serve us some breakfast. And find somewhere we did!
The Folly on Gracechurch Street is just round the corner from Monument tube station. It calls itself the city’s “secret garden” and does a pretty good job of living up to this description. Huge, but spread out thoughtfully with tables on different levels and separated by various trees and secret garden-esque decoration, you do feel like you’re in some kind of garden room.
We were sat on one of The Folly’s long tables and benches. Benches and shared tables aren’t personally to my taste for things like evening meals, due to the likelihood of having your personal space invaded by the person next to you, but they’re workable for something like brunch.
The brunch menu here is wide and varied, keeping you spoilt for choice. From English breakfasts and scrambled eggs on toast to eggs benedict and omelettes. There’s also some dishes inspired by travels across the world – corn fritters with baby spinach, grilled halloumi, poached egg and tomato kasundi, American-style waffles, and “Californian Kickstart” with poached eggs on rye, topped with humous, avocado and sweet chilli sauce. Nice touches to the menu are a selection of pastries and also “unlimited crumpets or toast”, as well as fresh juices and an array of coffees and teas.
As we took our seats, it seemed the rest of the world had had the same idea of brunch, so the restaurant was full, but the staff handled it well. We were brought water, drinks orders taken, and food ordered.
Mum went for classic ham and spinach eggs benedict on an English muffin – The Folly do halves for those who don’t want too much which is a good idea. I chose the 50-calorie egg white omelette, with cheese, chilli and chorizo.
Both came within a reasonable amount of time considering how busy it was, as well as looking beautifully presented. Mum’s was exactly how eggs benedict should be. Perfectly poached eggs smothered in buttery, rich hollandaise sauce, complete with ham and spinach.
My choice wasn’t the pale, insipid offering you might expect from an egg-white omelette, but light and fluffy, oozing with cheese and tasty chorizo and chilli, served with a slice of rye toast.We could have ordered a selection of sides and even our own Bloody Mary’s but stuck with a cappuccino and flat white and some fresh juices.
The surroundings were great, creating nice ambience, with free newspapers on offer, and special mention has to go to the toilets, which continue the secret garden theme and add to the almost Alice in Wonderland feel to The Folly. It doesn’t just do brunch – there’s an extensive food menu for other times of the day, offering sharing boards, steaks, burgers, salads, and main courses from Thai curries to cottage pie, as well as specials. Pretty much something for everyone, as well as some pretty tempting desserts. And with cocktails and a lengthy wine list, it’s definitely somewhere I’ll be popping back to in the future to sample its wares again.
I’ve always said restaurants are about more than just the food. Overall (despite my desire for my own table), the Folly ticks all the boxes. Great food, good service, and a not-too-unreasonable bill at the end. Definitely worth a visit in my book.
(The impressive toilets at The Folly)