Thursday, July 30, 2015
London Living Link-Up: Top 5 Unknown Brunches in London
This month's London link-up is on my favorite topic: brunch. We Americans have been brunching for a long time (I remember my mom suggesting we go out for a mommy-daughter "brunch" as a treat when I was about 7 or 8), but it's just taken off in the UK in the past few years.
And while I love brunch at Duck & Waffle as much as the next Londoner (the photo above is of their Duck Egg En Cocotte with the Full Elvis in the background), there are a handful of favorites that I keep returning to which - while popular - are not as oversubscribed as some other instutitions that people are willing to wait outside for (not naming any names ... but I'm not a huge fan).
The Italian Brunch: Sweet Thursday, De Beauvoir Town
If you're not a Dalstonite or familiar with De Beauvoir Town - that little pocket of prettiness that sits on the border of Islington and Dalston - it might be easy to miss the Neapolitan pizzeria Sweet Thursday, which was once our favorite Friday night hangout before we moved (we used to joke about Sweet Thursday Fridays!). Aside from listing a "warm pizza roll filled with Nutella" as one of their weekend brunch options, they also make this amazing "breakfast in a pan" dish that I love and enthusiastically recommend to those sitting around me: baked eggs, spinach and tomato salsa, pancetta, and toast. It's nothing short of magical (and does wonders for hangovers!).
The Venezuelan Brunch: Arepa & Co., Haggerston
From their canal-view hammock to the perfect posies of flowers arranged on the tables, Arepa & Co. is an Instagrammer's dream - and their food is pretty darn delicious to boot. Their weekday special is an arepa filled with perico (Venezuelan scrambled egg) and avocado (or another variety of your choice) and a hot drink for £6. And I'll tell ya: their flat whites are the stuff of legends, people. The atmosphere is friendly and chilled out - just the place you want to be for a mid-morning meet up.
The Cool Brunch: Workshop Coffee, Clerkenwell
It's not that people don't know that Workshop exists - it's more that they don't automatically think of it as a brunch venue (even though it gets insanely packed on the weekends). I think it's often overlooked as a second or third choice. But for me? Their delicious (if not slightly overpriced) menu is a reason to return every time I'm craving something like, oh, I don't know - French toast with mascarpone and rhubarb compote, drizzled with syrup. Except, instead of two slices, I could do with a stack.
The Even Cooler Brunch: Holborn Grind, Holborn
Okay, so technically, I've taken my brunch and coffee "to go" here, but they make the meanest smashed avocado on sourdough toast I've ever had: that zing of chilli is everything. Plus, it's attached to the ultra-hip Hoxton Holborn, so people-watching from one of its window seats is a must.
John's speciality is a fry-up (he's incredibly skilled at making poached eggs) and he'll always volunteer to cook this on a Saturday or Sunday morning while I flop around in bed, watching random YouTube videos with my eyes way too close to the screen because I'm nearly legally blind without my contacts in. Anyway. Occasionally, he'll go into the kitchen, sing along to the Smiths, and emerge with something like this - presenting the plate to me with a flourish.
Yes, I married him.
Reservations by invitation only. ;)
Enjoyed this London Living link-up? Head over to the hosts Lauren's and Amy's blogs to read more brunch-related posts.