Turkish fusion brunching at the brand new Megan’s in St Albans
Megan’s Restaurant had long been on my must-visit places for breakfast. Dog-friendly and with a diverse menu including Turkish inspired dishes, it’s been a popular dining spot for Londoners.
Pre-pandemic times, it would have been just about acceptable to take a 45-minute trip down the M1 to London in pursuit of brunch. The last six months however was no time to venture too far. Hence, we were delighted to find out, mainly while stalking Megan’s delightful Instagram Instagram feed, that a new branch had just opened in St Albans.
Megan’s first opened its doors in 2002 as a small antiques shop on Kings Road, selling home-made cake and pastries. With home-made delicacies, including the now-famous sea salt and Nutella cookie gaining in popularity, Megan soon turned her antiques shop into a cafe.
When in 2014 Megan decided to move back to New Zealand, she sold Megan’s on to a a loyal patron who lived just across the road. Since then, Megan’s have expanded their small family-run restaurants across London as a dog, kid and working from home friendly neigbourhood hubs. You can throw a birthday party or a baby shower; come in with the dog or the kids in tow, or set up a laptop in a quiet corner to work remotely.
With the original restaurant on Kings Road, Fulham, and branches in Kensington, Islington, Wimbledon, Balham, Parsons Green, Battersea and Clapham, St Albans is the ninth branch. Located in the heart of this charming Hertfordshire town, Megan’s is housed in a charming old pub, light and airy with soft lighting and contemporary design, but cosy and homely all at once with fireplaces, rattan lampshades and evil eye ornaments hanging from the ceilings.
Coming straight from Executive Chef Sercan’s kitchen, Megan’s recipes are as enticing as its quirky interior, with Mediterranean and Turkish inspired dishes. As a fan of Turkish cuisine (though I appreciate I may be biased here) and big on breakfast, I am of course keen to check out Megan’s Turkish Brunch Feast.
It may not be as rich as the original Turkish breakfast spread, but it offers a fulfilling meal comprising shakshouka baked eggs, Turkish cheese fondue, sucuk ‘turkish chorizo’, Turkish chopped salad, smashed avocado, harissa hummus, Nutella, halva cream, blueberry compote served with flatbread & organic seven-seeded sourdough. At £14.50 per person and serving two people, it is great value for money.
Perhaps because I am Turkish, I feel there isn’t much art or science to a goo shakshouka. Turkish fondue, on the other hand, called ‘mihlama’ in Turkish, is a lot trickier to get right. It should be cheesy but light, fatty but not too heavy. Chef Sercan’s recipe is spot on! I could have easily had another portion.
The Moroccan inspired harissa humus and the Middle Eastern halva cream spread were also unique touches to crown an already delicious breakfast.
Despite it being a Thursday – or perhaps Thursday is truly the new Friday – the place was buzzing. Couples, ladies who lunch, babies in prams, toddles and of course dogs.
Megan’s is truly dog-friendly. So much so that they didn’t even bat an eyelid at the sight of Doodles excitedly jumping on the comfy seat next to me but hurriedly assured us that they were dog-friendly and Doodles may sit where she pleases. As the waiting staff take your order, they ask if your dog is allowed treats, and out comes a cup of doggie biscuits.
They also put their money where they mouth is. Led by a community spirit, they provide support for community and charitable causes. With their still and sparkling water is filtered and bottled on site, each quarter they are donate 20% of water sales to their chosen charity. Their current charity is All Dogs Matter, who are based in Islington and rehome dogs in London. Last quarter they donated £5,000 to Guide Dogs London to sponsor a guide dog puppy, called Megan, of course! The quarter before that, they donated £3,386 to Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham!
Of course Doodles had to check out one of the may dog beds scattered around the restaurant including the private room. Here was a happy hound with very happily satiated owners.
A trip back to St Albans is sadly not on the cards for the foreseeable future, and considering the struggles the hospitality industry has faced this year, it may be too long a shot to hope for a Megan’s Milton Keynes, but here’s to hoping.