Don’t let the pretty café façade fool you, there’s a lot more to The Social Pantry than meets the eye.
Of course, it is a great choice for south of the river brunchers (Time Out readers voted it the best café in Battersea), but it’s also an established catering company. Plus it runs its own exclusive supper clubs on the first Thursday of every month.
Frankly, they had me at ‘we hate food waste’, an issue close to my heart. Like a lot of independent restaurant businesses, Social Pantry uses wherever it can; this keeps food packaging and logistics costs to a minimum, and also means the menu changes with the seasons. They even donate their old coffee granules to local allotments to help improve soil quality. I love a bit of that.
“That’s all well and good, you great flaming hippy,” I hear you cry, “What about The Food?” Fear not, Social Pantry’s attention to detail doesn’t end at their recycling bins.
I was having breakfast with Lucie, who also lives in the great green land of South-West London. There’s a Light Menu with virtuous-sounding granolas, grains and oats, which I swiftly ignored as it was 11am and I was in it for the carbs. The Something Filling menu offers the ubiquitous full English options as well as avocado on toast, but also features more adventurous dishes, like chai-spiced French toast, beetroot and feta fritters, and 10-hour slow-roasted pork belly. Lucie took on the pork, while I settled on the mascarpone mushrooms.
I fear my pictures don’t do it justice because these were BIG plates of food, quite at odds with the pretty pastry selection at the counter. Not that I’m complaining; I like nothing more than being surprised with a greedy portion so I can coo over it with barely-concealed delight and breathlessly whisper that I’ll never manage all this! Thank you Social Pantry for letting me exercise my favourite lie.
The food was delicious. The veggie-friendly baked mushrooms were cooked with spinach in a mascarpone and parsley sauce, spread across a piece of toast the size of a labrador and topped with two poached eggs.
Lucie’s slow-roasted pork belly was shredded, topped with black pudding and a fried egg, and served in a buttered and grilled brioche bun. Lucie said it was filling, juicy and delicious, if a little difficult to eat. It was definitely a knife and fork kinda sandwich.
If you’re a Battersea resident or just fancy gracing the sunny side of the Thames then I’d definitely recommend the Social Pantry to start your day.
The Social Pantry, 170A Lavender Hill, Battersea, London, SW11 5TG
Author: Carla Juniper
Carla is a proud Putney-dweller and newly-minted vegetarian. She loves pickled beetroot and experimenting in the kitchen, especially when accompanied by a very large glass of wine, which is known to aid creativity and culinary prowess. In her spare time she uses her degree in Illustration to create bespoke digital portraits (you can check our her work here).
She also sucks at the flying trapeze.