Brunch Here: Huckleberry Cafe, Santa Monica, USABy Alicia Grimshaw
No list of LA’s best brunches would be complete without a mention of Huckleberry Cafe. This California staple makes some of the best food in town, whipping up healthy dishes and buttery-as-you-like pastries to keen locals and out-of-towners alike. Los Angeles has some amazing food – see our Instagram guide to our favourite eats in the city here. Brunch is in our blood, and so, with all the fanfare surrounding this Santa Monica hotspot, we thought we’d spend our time wisely and check it out. Here’s everything you need to know about Huckleberry Cafe:
Huckleberry Cafe Review: The Run-Down
Husband and wife duo Zoe Nathan and Josh Loe first met in the kitchens at revered dinner spot, Rustic Canyon. After meeting and marrying, they’re now behind some of the most esteemed eateries in town including Cassia, Tallula’s, Esters and Huckleberry. Having learned the baking know how at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, Zoe’s pastries are legendary and people queue out the door to get their hands on Zoe’s crispy, yet soft croissants and maple bacon biscuits, which are as every bit as delicious as they sound.
Seasonal and local sourced produce is the beating heart of the menu, and dishes are made from scratch, daily. Everything served at Huckleberry is made using the best quality ingredients, including organic flour and pantry staples, Valrhona chocolate and farmers-market produce. They’ve just started making coconut milk, and good grief, it’s a dairy-free dream. With their cult-like status only growing, it’s no surprise that you have to queue at times to snag a table.
Huckleberry Cafe Review: The Food
The brunch menu is big on taste, and offers a variety of dishes – everything from Mexican inspired breakfast creations to healthy bowls and veggie-friendly fare. The pancakes, made from a recipe by Zoe’s father, are everything. This battered beauty came topped with pure maple syrup, organic butter and blueberries for a fruity hit.
The granola, however, deserves some love – this bowl of nutty greatness was superb. We know that granola may not be the most exciting of breakfast dishes, but here the kitchen team have somehow managed to make a normally overly sweet breakfast dish into a proper tasty bite. The homemade granola was perfectly crunchy, with shavings of coconut and sweet raising. And the tart Greek yogurt was balanced nicely with the locally sourced honey (from Bill’s Bees, no less) and fresh market berries.
Enough about the sweet delights, because the savoury offering is strong. The quinoa rice bowl served with eggs (we went for scrambled), was a healthy brunch dish with big flavours to boot. Strips of kale and caramelised onions were woven through the quinoa, and the dash of chimichurri gave dept and added a lovely warming buzz to the dish.
We could shout from the rooftops about Huckleberry’s cakes, and we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t be alone on our screaming endeavour. The cakes here really are remarkable. The glass cabinet is a catwalk of muffins, croissants, cookies and so much more that we don’t have the word count to mention them all. The slab of banana bread was sweet enough with great texture, and is without doubt the best way to start the day.
Like the main menu, the bakery section also uses in season fruit and spices. The chocolate and coconut kouign amann swirl, a relatively unheard of French pastry which is finally getting the limelight in America, was light, nutty and sugary like it should be with a healthy punch of chocolate. Get a box and take a few pastries away – when it comes to cake, go hard or go home.
For more information on Huckleberry Cafe, visit their website here
1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica CA 90401.