Reviewed: Brunch at Lavish Habit

Every time a shop shuts in Balham we wait with baited breath for what will replace it. The replacement of M&S Simply Food and Woolworths with identikit bargain shops (don’t get us wrong, there is definitely a time and a place for them but three in one town? Bit overkill) led us to think this was a growing theme with our empty shops.

Lavish Habit combines good food and the best of shopping; a cosy, calm environment and items you instantly start mentally placing in your home. It reminds us of that old coffee shop chain that used to change its merchandise every month under a different theme. The naff navy/yellow colour way and same-old drinks menu left a lot to be desired, though.

There’s nothing uniform about Lavish Habit; the chairs are mis-matched, as are the tea cups. Every detail has been thought through but it doesn’t look too try-hard. If you’re not keen on slightly wobbly tables and having to share space with strangers, it might not be your thing. We embraced it – and even swapped newspapers with our neighbour once we were done with our Saturday morning read.

The shop:  Beyond the main room is the garden area, splashed with bold colours to perk any dreary British weather conditions, plus downstairs lies a den of vintage treats akin to rummaging through your Grandma’s loft. Products aren’t cheap; expect to pay high prices for original vintage furniture, boutique-style gifts and new clothing. However it’s a pleasure to browse through the well thought out shop and a treat to buy. We really like the cute birthday cards they sell there – understated and at competitive prices to mainstream high street shops.

The food: LH’s brunch menu is modest yet varying; whether you’re dieting or after a carb fix, there’s something for you. We opted for a cheese and ham croissant, and pancakes with honey, yogurt and berries. Together with tea and coffee cost around £12, it’s brilliant value for the healthy portion sizes – there’s no scrimping on any ingredients.

This post is a lot longer than we intended but it just goes to show how much Lavish Habit has to offer. Part of the charm is that every time we’ve visited there’s new merchandise and as well as the classic brunch dishes, there are menu changes in alignment to the seasons. Any excuse to keep going back for more…

Enq: Lavish Habit, 75 Bedford Hill, SW12 9HA.

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SwishJunction visits The Vintage Event

The Vintage Event came back to town yesterday and didn’t disappoint. Dotted around the pub and taking over the upstairs room were stalls boasting items spanning several decades from the 40s right up to the 80s (how old will we all feel when the 90s eventually becomes ‘vintage’?). It’s not just clothing either; browsers could find soft furnishings and other homeware too. Everything was authentic; we got very excited when we spotted some Mary Quant hoisery. A cute extra was the Mother’s Ruin Gin & Tea room on offer; the cakes were not modest in size and the tea (naturally) served in vintage cup and saucers. As well as all this, one redeeming feature that stood out for us was the price. We find many vintage items have rather hefty (and off-putting) price tags but there was a fantastic range of prices that didn’t alienate the budget conscious. What did we get? A beautiful mini cake stand at £4.50 (from Tea-licious) and two small glass decanters for £5.

Result. There aren’t many places where you can shop and drink at the same time, after all.

(Ps really wish we’d purchased that GORGEOUS clutch on the top left of the main pic…sigh)

The Vintage Event is back at the Balham Bowls Club on 11th December, 12pm-6pm, free entry.

The Vintage Event – Balham Bowls Club

The Balham Bowls Club is one of our favourite places to drink and be merry. The decor is cute and quaint; mismatched furniture, old relics and a delightful quiet pub garden, so where better to hold a vintage sale?

The Vintage Event brings the best of past classics to the BBC for our shopping pleasure on Saturday 15th October. From midday you’ll find a mixed selection of traders, a Mother’s Ruin Gin & Tea Room (with a slice of lime, please), plus a vintage beauty parlour for a bit of preening.

What’s more, once the clock strikes 8pm the pub turns into a party showcasing classics from 40s-80s. Delightful.

Enq. ‘Shop & Dance’ http://www.thevintageevent.com. Free entry 12-6pm, £5 for the evening dance.