Over the Bank Holiday weekend I had the yearning for brunch and Becks wanted to see some bluebells. We set out on the Sunday to satisfy both cravings.
My hunger won out first, and with Blackheath on route to Oxleas Wood, we decide to try breakfast at Hand Made Food a café we've visited once before. The concept at Hand Made Food is to have the attractive looking dishes laid out next to the window and along the counter allowing you to choose what you'd like to eat. It's a style buffet and feels a world away from food being kept warm in bain maries. (Although in my book, dodgy looking food courts where the bain marie rule, definitely have their place too.)
The window display at Hand Made Food
As good as the food on display looked, I fancied something brunchy, so ordered from the board displaying breakfasts and selected the scrambled eggs on toast with a side of bacon. I'm so used to breakfasts being served on sourdough these days that it took me back to have a couple of slices of granary bread instead. Once I'd adjusted my thought process I didn't mind the sliced white, I just would have preferred it a bit more toasted.
The eggs were nothing special, but the smoked bacon was fantastic. Easily the best bacon I've had since breakfast at Revolver two years ago.
Scrambled eggs with bacon
Becks went for the full English, which came with the same awesome bacon, sliced white and roast potatoes. I didn't have roast potatoes down as a classic full English ingredient, but they were apparently the menu clincher when Becks ordered and turned out to be one of her highlights.
The Full English
After brunch we jumped on the bus and headed out to Oxleas Wood. Part of the Green Chain the woods really aren't that far away, but somewhere I haven't visited before.
We jumped off the bus on Shooters Hill road and walked, rather umpromisingly, into the wood following a bridle path. Neither of us had a clue where we were going, but resisted the urge to look at a map and drift through the trees. We were both amazed how long it was before we bumped into anyone else. On one of the warmest spring days so far we thought there would be a lot more people out and about.
Relaxing on the lawns in Oxleas Wood
It wasn't too long before we'd found our way to Oxleas Meadow which seemed to be where all the action was. The action seemed mainly to involved screaming kids so we quickly set off in search of the bluebells we'd come to see.
I was beginning to worry that we'd spend the afternoon searching in vain until we found Shepheadleas Wood. It would be a bit of an exaggeration to say there were carpets of bluebells, but we did manage to spot quite a few.
On our way home we walked through the more 'formally' (I use the term loosely) laid out section of Oxleas Wood with a few man made terraces and a rose garden waiting for the summer to arrive. We also walked past the slightly sad looking Severndroog Castle which appears to be a building without a purpose and frighteningly large crack running up one side.
Hand Made Food
40 Tranquil Vale,