Attention brunchers! It's perfect poached eggs aplenty at Fego, a laid-back, family-friendly café in the middle of Marlow.
Fego started out in Sunningdale, Berks, back in 2002 with its laid back atmosphere and tasty brunch offering leading to seven more cafés, three of which are in Bucks – Marlow, Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield. The Marlow outpost is bang in the middle of the high street action (oh hello, Mint Velvet and Whistles, my credit card has been expecting you) and is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, seven days a week.
On a glorious Friday morning Marlow was buzzing, the sun was shining and the café was impossible to miss; its entrance heralded with a huge hanging basket of zingy fuchsia, orange and purple flowers. There are a few seats outside for pavement dining and, when I arrived, they were occupied by a mother and teen daughter gossiping over lattes.
Fego definitely has a family-friendly vibe, with most of the brunchers family units of some sort. A large group in the corner, crowded around three pushed-together tables, spanned at least three generations. There’s no stuffiness and no problem catering for messy kids.
It’s bigger than it appears when you first walk through the door. The front area has a few tables with comfier seats which leads through to the bar and then onto a larger split-level dining room at the back, with a conservatory style glass roof that allows the sunlight to flood in. The connecting corridor its just wide enough to get a pushchair through and there are a couple of small steps to manoeuvre around.
Decor wise, the space is homely if a leetle confused – a mix between an Italian neighbourhood café, with scarlet feature walls, retro mirrors and dark wood panelling, and African accents (there’s a subtle South African influence throughout the menu too) like funky vases, wooden masks and cute cactuses.
It could use a bit of modernising, which is exactly what will be happening soon (once planning permission goes through). The Fego chain is currently updating all of its outposts with a brand new look of pastel colours, funky prints and a larger emphasis on the South African influence.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Fego is famed for its breakfast and brunches and you can see why. The menu offers a bit of everything, from traditional English fry ups and Eggs Benedict to healthy options, such as açaí bowls and breakfast smoothies and indulgent treats.
I opted for the smashed avocado on rye bread with poached eggs (hipster, I know), whilst my plus-one choose the full Mediterranean breakfast, drawn in by the helping of halloumi and delicious basil-marinated tomatoes. As you might expect, it’s a healthier spin on the gut-busting Full English.
We both cut in to our poached eggs and – moment of truth – they were perfectly runny.
My avo on toast was as good as any I’ve had (and I’ve had many) with the chilli and herb seasoning adding that little extra oof. That massive Mediterranean was woofed down in under 10 minutes.
For drinks, my friend choose a classic Americano (although you can go for oat, soy or almond milk for no extra cost), while I had a chai latte which had a tasty vanilla undertone and was covered with a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon.
OUT & ABOUT
For a post-brunch walk, head to Higginson Park for a stroll along the river, plus a large playground for smaller kids. Marlow is well served for high-end high street brands. If you’re seeking retail therapy, you’ll find branches of The White Company, Space NK, Mint Velvet, Jigsaw and Whistles.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A brunch outing with the kids in tow – there’s a condensed version of the main menu for children – or a quick pit stop for coffee and a bite whilst doing the rounds in Marlow. Full marks for catering for dietary requirements – there’s a low gluten menu and new veggie and vegan menu coming soon.
Not for: A glam, girlie lunch – whilst the food is Insta-worthy, the café’s interiors, at present, not so much. But watch this space.
The damage: Great value for money. Most of the breakfast dishes, except those with steak or smoked salmon, come in at under £10, whilst a harissa chicken salad or cheeseburger from the lunch side of the brunch menu cost around £12. Hot drinks are standard at around £3 or there’s an impressive selection of fresh juices, smoothies and shakes, from £4.
Fego, 59 High Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1AB. Tel: 01628 475873
Words: Nancy Serle