Walking into Whitechurch is akin to walking into a furniture showroom. As the name suggests, the interiors are clean, white, and modern, with pale grey marble tables and verdant green plants. The wooden furniture adds a rustic element to the modern design, and songs from The Supremes and the Temptations are playing in the background at a comfortable volume.
There is an outdoor seating area where fairy lights hang overhead. The combination of both the outdoor and indoor seating, and the modern and rustic aesthetic highlights the versatility of Whitechurch – café by day, pub by night.
At 10am on a Sunday morning, the café was quiet save for a few small groups. However, lunch on a weekday was a completely different scenario, as there was not enough seating in the restaurant. On Sunday, the service was prompt, warm and friendly, though there was room for improvement.
Attempts to make a reservation were unsuccessful because nobody answered the phone number listed on Google. Despite only ordering one drink and pastry per person, we needed to repeat our order several times. Fortunately, the food and the drinks came promptly, and the cashier kindly offered to bring us our change at our table because there was not enough cash at the till.
The brunch menu looks extensive and delicious, containing classics such as a bacon sandwich, bruschetta, and rarebit. Upon examination of the prices, we observed the food was slightly more expensive than Flat White. For instance, the bacon sandwich is £5.50 at Whitechurch and £5 in Flat White, but the scrambled eggs on toast are 45p cheaper in Whitechurch (£5.50) than in Flat White (£5.95). However, upon our arrival, we were told that brunch was not available on Sundays, though this was not indicated on the menu. There were only pastries on offer, so we ordered the cheese scone (£2.20), pain au raisin (£1.95), and hazelnut brownie (£3).
Warm from the oven, the cheese scone had a perfect crumb and was delightfully savoury, a refreshing change from other cheese scones that are too doughy or savoury. The scone came with butter; however, it was flavourful enough to be eaten plain. The pain au raisin was sweet and buttery, albeit rather non-descript.
In contrast, the hazelnut brownie was otherworldly. My first bite marked my descent into a rich, dark, chocolatey reverie. The fudgy consistency of the brownie is complemented perfectly by the crunch and fragrance of the hazelnut. Dense and delectable, the brownie is on par with Flat White’s.
Likewise, the drinks we ordered were delicious: the vanilla chai latte and London Fog (both £3.20). 20p more expensive than their equivalents at Flat White, the vanilla chai latte was dusted with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, and the flavour was comparable to liquid gingerbread. Upon trying the latte, one of my friends gushed that it tasted “like Christmas, friendship, and hugs”. The London Fog, which I later learnt was an ethereal cloud of steamed milk on earl grey, was slightly sweetened and paired excellently with my scone.
Though the selection at the time of review was limited, most of the drinks and pastries on offer were excellent, particularly the cheese scone and the vanilla chai latte. However, more information would help improve my experience at Whitechurch, particularly about the availability of the brunch menu.
Given that Whitechurch is a relatively new restaurant, there are obstacles that it needs to overcome, but based on its immense popularity and high-quality food, it is likely to remain successful.
Image Credit: Constance Lam