Continuing my exploration of those bits of South West London which historically I’ve sped through/past on the train brings us to Tooting Bec, which I visited last week. And where better to start than around the corner from Tooting Bec tube station, where you’ll find today’s Coffee Spot, Green Monkey London? Green Monkey is something of local institution, having opened in 2015, occupying the last in a row of five single-storey units east of the station on the south side of Tooting Bec Road. There are a couple of tables outside on the pavement, with much more seating inside, although if you’re ordering takeaway, there’s a handy to-go window to the right of the door.
Styling itself “coffee and brunch”, Green Monkey lives up to both these tags, serving Nude Coffee Roasters’ East Blend from a standard espresso-based menu, along with a range of loose-leaf tea (served by the pot), various fresh juices and a selection of smoothies. When it comes to food, there’s an extensive breakfast and brunch menu with various vegetarian and vegan options alongside meat-filled classics such as the bacon, sausage and fried egg brioche bun, all backed up with a selection of cakes and pastries.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Given its name, Green Monkey has a pleasingly green façade which it uses to good effect to proclaim its coffee and brunch credentials, which are written in big, bold letters across the top. The actual shop front is a lot smaller, and pretty much all glass, with a three-piece folding window on the left. This can be pulled right back during good weather, or, as was the case when I visited, the right-hand pane can serve as a door. To the right of this, the windows start at waist level, with the lower, left-hand pane acting as a to-go window, so you can order, pay for and collect your coffee all without having to set foot in Green Monkey (although plenty of customers did come in to say hello to the barista).
Inside, Green Monkey is long and thin, with the front at about 30° to the interior to accommodate the angle of Tooting Bec Road. On the right, counter butts up against the windows, which is what makes the to-go window work (before a 2019 refurbishment, the counter used to be in the back of Green Monkey, on the left-hand side). Opposite the counter, to your left as you enter, a row of three tables runs along an L-shaped red, padded sofa-bench. Beyond this point, seating lines the walls on either side, all the way to the back, with a solitary two-person table in the middle. If you’re sitting in, grab a seat (feel free to take a menu from the pile at the end of the counter) and someone will come to take your order.
On the left-hand side, a padded, backless blue bench runs all the way to the back, before continuing halfway across the back wall. There are six two-person tables down the left-hand side and two more along the back, although they can be pushed together to form sets of four or six if required. On the right is a second red, padded sofa-bench, this one with four two-person tables (which can be similarly combined). This starts immediately after the counter, but ends short of the back wall where you’ll find the door to the toilet (and another to a storeroom). Finally, if you don’t mind people wandering past on either side, there’s the solitary two-person table in the middle of the space.
I’d visited Green Monkey specifically for brunch, and immediately decided on the “week special”, consisting of smashed avocado, halloumi and poached eggs, making a late decision to go with corn fritters instead of sourdough toast (and then ordering the toast on the side). This turned out to be an inspired choice: although the eggs were awesome, perfectly poached with rich, runny yolks, and while the halloumi was excellent, the fritters were even better. There were three of them, round and thick, interleaved with the halloumi in a horizontal stack, and laid on top of a bed of smashed avocado, which almost felt like an afterthought, topped by all that goodness. Finally, there was a liberal sprinkling of strawberries which was the metaphorical icing on the cake.
Brunch was so good, I nearly forgot about my coffee, a smooth flat white, the East Blend from Nude Coffee Roasters going perfectly with the milk, rounding off an excellent start to my day.
December 2021: Green Monkey London was a runner-up for the 2021 Best Breakfast Award.
|2D TOOTING BEC ROAD • LONDON • SW17 8BD|
|www.facebook.com/greenmonkeyldn||+44 (0) 20 3802 3177|
|Monday||06:30 – 16:00||Roaster||Nude Coffee Roasters (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||06:30 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||06:30 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||06:30 – 16:00||Service||Table; Order at Window (Takeaway)|
|Friday||06:30 – 16:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||07:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Sunday||07:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||22nd October 2021|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.
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