Once of my close friends hosts an unconventional breakfast club through Yelp which provides a bit of motivation to get out earlier on the weekend for food the average person (in London!) wouldn’t’ associate with breakfast. Bonda café was the latest spot and we piled into this small basement café for some authentic Malaysian fare.
There are about 20 seats so get in early especially if you have a group and keep in mind they tend to run out of the more breakfast-type items by 11am. It’s quite no-nonsense with one waitress doing her best to take orders and dish up food. Still, given the very reasonable prices (particularly for Marylebone) it’s a great little spot. The kaya toast is excellent (a slight tweak is the buttery brioche they use rather than regular white bread) and the Malaysian coffee will get you buzzing.
Meet them there! Seriously, get in and grab a table or you risk a potentially long wait. Plus, if you are going for breakfast it’s not like there are any pubs around to wait in. If opting for a later meal, you are a stone’s throw from Paddington so there are plenty of pubs but nothing really special.
What to eat?
Other than the kaya toast (two thick slices of soft brioche held together by a generous serving of coconut jam and studded with chunks of butter), your only other option is Nasi Lamak – a plate of rice with a spicy sambal and fried whitebait and peanuts. It’s a traditional dish that may prove to be a bit ambitious for those with an aversion to spicy foods early in the day.
While I enjoyed the kaya toast, it was something I think would be limited to half a serving at best given its rich taste and the sweetness of the jam. The Nasi Lamak I could have devoured by the plate load as the heat of the sambal was a brilliant wake up call and the crunch of the fried fish and peanuts added a great contrast of textures. Granted, I’ve been known to take down a bowl of chicken curry and rice for breakfast when I’m at my parents – so take it as you will.
Actually, given that, it’s no surprise the roti canai is one of my favourites as it’s basically roti (fried flaky flat bread) with a small bowl of curry sauce to dip in it.
Oh and the fried chicken is well cooked with juicy meat and crispy skin. While it won’t be knocking Jubo off the top spot in London (or Rita’s once they pop up again) but it’s pretty tasty stuff.
Coffee…please…my kingdom for some coffee!
It was early, and I needed a caffeine boost to get me started. If you feel the same way, grab the Malaysian coffee served black with an unhealthy dose of sugar. It’s smooth and spicy and goes down an absolute treat.
They also have a delicious milky tea that brought back memories of my mom serving a similar tea-flavoured concoction (basically a tea bag dunked a few times into a mug of warm milk) when I wanted to be a grown up. Little me had good taste, but terrible ambitions – should have stayed a youngster and just run around and ate all day.
Worth the dosh?
Yep. For a tenner each we gorged ourselves on food and drink and left absolutely stuffed.
Find Bonda Café here
190 Sussex Garden
London, W2 1TU