Reviewed by Ruman
There are few activities better on a Sunday than a lazy brunch enjoyed with family. With that in mind, my cousins and I headed to Guanabana last weekend to check out their ever-evolving brunch menu. I’ve been to Guanabana so many times I’ve lost count (mostly because they serve a diabetes-inducing coffee which I love – more on that another time). I’ve only had brunch at Guanabana once before and at the time I had food envy the moment I saw my friends pulled beef on toast so this time round my brunch choice was pretty simple.
For starters (who said you can’t have starters at brunch too?!) we ordered the ‘Stuffed Jalapeños’ off the A la Carte menu. These were crispy breaded red jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese and served with a sweet chilli sauce. Having been let down in the past at other restaurants that serve a similar starter (not cheesy enough, not crispy enough and so on) we were happy to bite into these to find it both crispy and filled with cheese. The sweet chilli sauce complemented the stuffed jalapeños well.
We also ordered a basket of ‘Spicy Wings’ (£6.50) from the brunch menu (sweet wings are also available). These had a good amount of meat on them and the plate they were served in was filled with drippings of the sauce. Mez, our resident wings connoisseur, commented that the spicy jerk flavour of the wings didn’t come through as much as she’d expected (though I should point out that she has a bias towards wings covered in Frank’s Redhot Buffalo Wing Sauce). She confessed she was actually relieved that the subtleness of the flavour meant she maintained her indifference towards jerk flavoured wings.
I went for the ‘Classic Eggs Benedict’ which consisted of poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and pulled beef on toast. I must admit that I went back and forth between this and the pulled beef burger but I didn’t want a repeat of the food envy I had the last time so I stuck to my order. Part of the reason why I went for this dish instead of the burger was because on previous burger-fuelled visits I have found the brioche at Guanabana to be too thick and hard for my liking. I figured the brioche in the Classic Eggs Benedict would be soft and oh how beautifully soft it was! The pulled beef was tender and there was a sweetness coming through from somewhere (I couldn’t figure out if it was something spread on to the brioche or the brioche itself). The pulled beef-eggs-hollandaise combination certainly satisfied my cravings.
It seems they’ve changed the way they make their bread given Aysha’s choice of ‘The Messy Mexican’ burger (£8.90) also had the same light and fluffy brioche. The restaurant used to buy their bread elsewhere until they switched to baking the brioche buns in house a couple of years ago.
Asma went for the ‘1/4 Jerk Chicken’ served with rice & peas, jerk au jus and fried plantain. Guanabana has a choice of sweet bbq and spicy jerk flavours for the chicken – we opted for the latter. The chicken was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and £6.50 this dish was great value for money.
Mez ordered the ‘Havana Eggs’ (£7.90) and had a bonding moment with the waitress who told her that was her personal favourite and was very excited for her to try the dish. The Havana Eggs dish consisted of poached eggs in spicy tomato ragu topped with coriander and feta. Mez remarked that she really enjoyed the dish particularly because it was served with a tortilla and not a thicker bread that is normally served with tomato based egg dishes.
We also ordered ‘Hand Cut Chilli Chips’ (£3.90), ‘Hand Cut Sweet Potato Chips’ (served with a sour cream and chive dip, £4.50) as sides. Our choice of drinks were a Coke (£2.20), Peanut Butter Milkshake (£4.10), ‘Camden Hot Chocolate’ (£2.50) and a glass of ‘Lime Mojito’ (£3.70).
Overall, we were all impressed with our dishes. I was pleased to see the improvement in the bread and we agreed that the jerk flavoured wings could have had a stronger flavour. The service was helpful and attentive though a few small things could have been improved (such as having cutlery on the table before our food came).
Brunch is served at Guanabana every day until 4pm.
Value for money: 9/10 (£67.50 total bill // £13.50pp)
Halal Status: All meat served is halal. Alcohol is not served though a BYO policy is operated.
Address: 85 Kentish Town Rd, London, NW1 8NY
Nearest station: Camden Town (Northern Line) / Camden Road (Overground)
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View our guide to London’s best halal breakfast/brunch spots here.
Ruman eats a brownie a day, but only with coffee. She struggles to eat more than 2/3 of an adult size portion of food, but always has room for dessert. When not exploring restaurants, galleries or cities around the world, Ruman is a Marketing Ninja at Halal Gems, where she also holds the title of Chief Chocolate Officer.
Forever consumed by a mixture of wanderlust and FOMO, her interests include all things social media, travel, charity, photography and food.
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Reviewed by Ruman