Thanks to the blog, and what I like to think of as a healthy spirit of adventure (propelled by an even healthier appetite), I don’t often eat in the same places repeatedly. Sure, there’s a couple of local spots where I do seem to spend a large proportion of my time drinking beer flights and eating hot wings, or enjoying mutton biryani or a Friday night thali. And old favourites like Hawksmoor and Chick’n’Sours demand repeat visits - the thought of only eating potted beef and yorkies covered in onion gravy only once is a sad one. But mostly I still enjoy the hunt for new things to try.
One exception to the rule is Café Boscanova in Boscombe, which I committedly (mostly successfully) attempt to visit at least once every time I’m down visiting friends in Dorset. Not only is it an eclectic spot, with lovely staff and a great ambience, it’s also begun to feel like an old friend; a home from home where I can chill out and enjoy great coffee and brunch. Which is ideal as my friend, as wonderful as she is at hosting, doesn’t have culinary skills to match.
Although I’ve made many repeat visits, it’s never managed to make it onto the blog. A situation I’m remedying here, despite the fact it might mean getting an elusive table is that little bit harder on my next trip. (Air Show weekend, if you’re wondering, where everyone has already refused to go with me, anticipating the queues on one of the busiest weekends of the year…)
All good brunches start with good coffee, and here it comes from South Coast Roast, independent roasters who also have their own coffee shop on Richmond Hill, in the centre of Bournemouth. My go to coffee is the red eye, a mug of their single origin drip coffee with a shot of espresso over the top 'for a proper kick'. Normally I don't drink much coffee at all, sticking firmly to a diet of pints of PG tips with a splash of milk, but I do like decent drip coffee, and South Coast Roast is second to none.
The extra espresso shot is an entirely superfluous addition, but I'm usually in need of a little caffeine kick when I visit, much to the amusement of my friends, who have noticed how wired I get after a mug. The Ewing sticks with drip, she doesn't need any more energy...
As an avowed ouef avoider the first meal of the day can often be a tricky one, as everything seems to come adorned with egg in some guise. Which is what makes the Boscanova vegan breakfast ideal, and is my choice if I've had too many pancakes (doesn't happen very often).
Alongside the usual suspects – tomatoes, potato and onion hash, mushroom and beans – there is added bonus humus, dukkah, rocket and some avocado on toasted sourdough. A cornucopia of delights that, while unconventional, make the perfect combo. Especially when you add an extra pork sausage, or two, to the proceedings.
They also do a good meat brekkie (slightly less good since they stopped offering black pudding as an extra) and a veggie breakfast with halloumi. Alongside hipster-pleasers such as granola with greek yoghurt and berries, perfectly poached eggs and avocado on toast.
As good as the fry ups are, there's one real reason I keep coming back to Boscanova - their american style pancakes. In fact, these may be my favourite pancakes, which is a pretty bold claim as I do like pancakes. Here they are extra thick and fluffy, and always perfectly cooked through. A surprisingly tricky skill to master; having produced many carbonised discs of dough on a Saturday morning as supporting evidence to that fact.
They come topped with an amazing organic maple butter as standard, although I always get them with extra blueberries, which are dropped straight into the batter, and bacon.
Just like in a burger, bacon with pancakes should always be streaky, and crisp; here it is both. As I’m greedy, I usually find two rashers aren’t enough to service two huge pancakes. But at a quid for a brace, you can easily throw in an extra portion.
They also have a full lunch time offering - with wraps and burritos and healthy-sounding salads and such like - but with their majestic breakfast menu being available right through until close, I’ve never had recourse to try them. Why would you, when you can be greeted by a warm welcome, stiff cup of coffee and a plate of something so gloriously comforting (and slightly phallic...) all day long.