Espresso Cafe's plant-based pancakes and green smoothie.Lottie Reeder

Whilst many come to Cambridge with ambitions of Blues, Firsts and connections, for the past two years, my goal has been to find the best brunch in Cambridge. I have endlessly visited all the usual spots, never being truly blown away by any.

It was only this term that I gave Espresso Library a chance. To ensure that it absolutely was worthy of the label “The best brunch in Cambridge”, I visited twice. For me, a brunch place can only be considered worthwhile if it delivers savoury and sweet breakfasts; avocado toasts are abundant in Cambridge, but a good stack of pancakes is harder to come by. I tell myself that I had to go twice if I wanted to check out both of its offerings- but even if they’d just served one or the other? Honestly, I’d probably have swung by Espresso Library again.

“I am excited to go back... and drag whoever is willing along with me.”

First of all, I started with sweet. Plant-based pancakes. The plant-based offerings at Espresso Library are plentiful, and for those following a plant-based diet - used only to avocado toast or a sad vegan brunch - there is a variety of dishes. The pancakes were visually stunning, topped with a medley of berries, flaked almonds, yoghurt and maple syrup. I was astounded by the quality of these pancakes: the toppings balanced perfectly and the yoghurt is an addition that I had never thought I would enjoy as much as I did.

Avocado toast with tempeh.Lottie Reeder

Next, I tried the avocado toast. You can eat it anyway you like, whether you want to go traditional with poached eggs and bacon, or explore some new flavours with roasted chickpeas and tahini. To try something new, I went for tempeh. Generally suspicious of soy-based produce for its lack of taste, I was interested to see if tempeh would be a suitable substitution for bacon. The smoky taste of the tempeh was a delicious accompaniment to the fresh avocado and the sourdough provided the necessary tang. My friends opted for poached eggs and were satisfied with the yolk, poached to perfection.

“The green juice was the perfect balance of health and sweetness.”

Obviously, I had to try the coffee. Espresso Library describe their house blend as consisting of a ‘Dark chocolate and cherry aroma, stewed apricots and peaches and delicate floral undertones’. An oat flat white was a good way to sample the blend, and I was impressed. I chose a different pressed juice each time. The green juice was the perfect balance of health and sweetness, a refreshing and delicious breakfast accompaniment. Their freshly squeezed grapefruit juice was tart and sweet.

Usually when it comes to brunch, I find myself ordering the same dish every time. At Espresso Library, there is a menu that offers ample variety and sustains quality throughout. I am excited to go back and work my way through the rest of the options and drag whoever is willing along with me.


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