What? An architectural salvage yard isn’t up there with the most likely of brunch destinations, but that’s entirely the appeal of LASSCO – it’s undoubtedly one of the quirkiest venues in London. They have two venues; Brunswick House in Vauxhall and a much smaller spot under a railway arch in Bermondsey’s Maltby Street. Oh, and if you’re wondering what it stands for… it’s The London Architectural Salvage and Supply Co.
New? LASSCO itself dates back to the 18th Century and today occupies many of the arches along the Ropewalk – the sites of 40 Maltby Street and St. JOHN included. This summer it upped sticks and moved a few doors down to number 37, adding an extended menu and opening hours to the eclectic surroundings.
Where? LASSCO Ropewalk, 37 Maltby Street, Bermondsey, SE1 3PA, www.lasscobar.co.uk
On the Menu: We visited on a Sunday afternoon so there was only one thing on our minds: brunch. Breakfast offers much of the same, with hot drinks by Dark Arts Coffee while lunch and dinner is a modern European affair – think polenta with wild mushroom, N’Duja-stuffed quail and pork loin with broad beans. The menus change constantly (just as the surroundings do) so no two visits will ever be the same.
The Look: Since you are basically eating somewhere in between a shop and a warehouse, you’ll find yourself surrounded by weird and wonderful objects and retro pieces of furniture that wouldn’t look out of place in a film set. There’s lots to see and therefore lots to talk about, so you shouldn’t run out of conversation; “Woah this lamp is £800”, that kind of thing…
What We Ate: As tempting as they looked, we skipped the St. JOHN Bakery pastries (and doughnuts) in favour of traditional brunch fare and ended up with scrambled eggs and tomato-baked eggs. A mound of scrambled egg was piled high onto toasted sourdough, drizzled with oil and generously scattered with truffle. If you’re a truffle fan then it’s definitely one for you. The baked eggs were an equally well-sized portion which would be sure to kick any hangover to the kerb. Chunks of chorizo, cubes of avo and perfectly runny eggs were begging to be mopped up with warm, buttery sourdough.
Since it was 2pm on a Sunday and brunch was more of the ‘lunch’ part than ‘breakfast’ at this point, we felt we could justify pudding. The peach frangipane was gorgeous and with a big dollop of yogurt, we wished we’d got one each.
What We Drank: Brunch calls for coffee and here it comes courtesy of Dark Arts which is roasted over in Hackney. If it’s hair of the dog you’re after then choose from one of their signature cocktails (the ‘Maltby Mary’ is spiked with sake, pickled walnuts and seaweed dashi), natural wines or Bermondsey craft beers – there’s a brewery just around the corner which we wondered over to afterwards.
Go With: Anyone and everyone – I really can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t enjoy it. Foodies will love the menu and the eternally curious will be in their element looking at reclaimed cornicing one minute and Matisse drawings the next.
Final Word: Maltby Street Market is one of my favourite spots in London. At the weekend, it comes alive with the most amazing street food – you’ll find everything from Scotch eggs to tartiflette – but when you want a break from eating from a paper bag, LASSCO is your best bet. Hey, you can always pick up a brownie afterwards. While the market is only a weekend affair, LASSCO Ropewalk continues plating up food throughout the week. They’ve just added Wednesday evenings to the calendar, so when the sun sets and you want a cosy dining destination, you know where to head. Keep an eye out for their weekly prix fixe ‘specials’ menu, too.
LASSCO: Ropewalk, 37 Maltby Street, Bermondsey, SE1 3PA
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Fran can be found sipping espresso martinis by night and, by day, on the hunt for London's best brunch. Bonus points for a runny yolk and the perfect flat white.