Monday, June 27, 2016

All-Day Brunch @ Petit Pois Bistro, Hoxton Square


Stung by the reality of the morning after the night before (I'm talking Brexit, y'all), John and I headed to Petit Pois Bistro in Hoxton Square to drown our sorrows in mimosas, coffee and the promise of a delicious brunch.

I said "promise" of a delicious brunch because, well, brunch in London has kind of let me down lately. I've been to several highly-hyped restaurants recently that have looked amazing on Instagram, but in reality, the coffee was burnt, the potato rostis under seasoned, the service less-than-friendly ... you get my drift. Disappointment after disappointment.

But Petit Pois Bistro doesn't need the hype - it already has an impressive CV. The restaurant is the latest from Alastair Burgess and Chris Smith (whose background in Michelin-starred restaurants and street food is noteworthy), owners of Happiness Forgets (what a great name, right?), a popular bar situated just downstairs.

A mimosa in, with 5 minutes of sunshine beating down on us outside, I'll admit I was still skeptical. I scanned the "Day Time" menu and was heartened to see breakfast and brunch options being served between 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The concept of all-day brunch or breakfast is still a bit unfamiliar to Brits, but in the US, we're all about that scrambled eggs or stuffed French toast for breakfast, lunch or - yes - even dinner.

I finally settled on the Eggs Benedict, while John opted for the Scrambled Eggs on Toast with Gravadlax - a favorite of ours. I chose Eggs Benedict because I always judge a restaurants by its poached eggs and, well, Petit Pois did not disappoint.


Beautifully poached, the bright orange yolk oozed onto two delicate slices of toasted (or were they fried?) brioche. That, paired with a sliver of ham and watercress, made the perfect forkful. The watercress was a game changer: eggs benedict (or eggs royale, for that matter) can often taste heavy and rich. Petit Pois' version was a little lighter and more enjoyable to taste: the hollandaise had a hint of heat, which kept each bite from tasting too same-y.

John's scrambled eggs and gravadlax was anything but basic:


Not only was it beautiful, but the eggs were also the perfect consistency: not too runny yet not overcooked. A gorgeous plate.

Just when I thought I couldn't praise the food quite enough, the coffees arrived - two flat whites that were damn good and served with a laid-back, friendly approach that made us want to settle in and stay a while.

We weren't the only ones: despite its nascent position in the square, the tables around us quickly began to fill and, before we left, I spotted Minute Steak Frites (with a fried egg) being served to a table outside while another couple began to dig into a heaping pot of Moules Frites.


In addition to this, the decor of Petit Pois - both inside and out - makes the most of the small space. John and I marvelled at how much thought and detail goes in to creating a beautiful space for eating (and just how much it matters). Exposed brick and marble tables allowed the main attraction (the food) to truly shine on simple, earthenware crockery. But as I explained above, the quality of the food easily spoke for itself.



If there was one takeaway (no pun intended) from our experience at Petit Pois, it was that we far too often stand in lines for and reserve tables at mediocre establishments - often without realizing it. Or we try to convince ourselves that the wait was really worth it. Sampling the all-day brunch menu at Petit Pois reminded me that, actually, good food - I mean, really good food, borne out of an authentic passion and love for cooking and cuisine - exists.

It does.

Our brunch at Petit Pois Bistro was complimentary (thank you!), but I'd easily go back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths. It's open now at 9 Hoxton Square for all-day brunch and dinner.
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26 comments

  1. I say Brinner everyday! This sounds rather intriguing despite its nascent positioning...

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    1. Haha, "Brinner" indeed! I think that brunch should always be served at least past 12 pm ... so many restaurants stop their brunch and breakfast menus at 12 on the weekends, which is always disappointing.

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  2. I had also been feeling a bit disheartened at East London brunch recently but this place looks excellent.


    Emma Inks

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one. It was reassuring and inspiring to see a place that really put the focus back on ... you know, FOOD!

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  3. Ooh yum! Looks good, glad it tasted great as well. I feel like nowadays a lot of places rely on being instagrammable but are let-downs when you actually go.

    Jane / deluminators

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    1. Right?! I'm so glad that I was introduced to Petit Pois ... I'll definitely be back again soon.

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    1. It was awesome, Chloe! I love the option of outdoor seating too, because it makes me feel like I'm on holiday when I'm eating outside! x

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  5. Omg this looks amazing. That yolk looks so good!

    Enclothed Cognition

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    1. It was pretty fantastic - everything worked really together!

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  6. Happiness Forgets is exactly what I felt about Brexit! (They do serve amazing gin-based cocktails, though!)

    I get what you mean about 'grammable food. Yolk porn and bright red hues of microleaves do not make brunch taste great! This sounds like a really decent place, though. And if the coffee's a testament to its greatness, I'm there!

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

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    1. Haha! I totally know what you mean. I was prepared to be disappointed by the coffee, but then I took a sip and was like, 'WOW'.

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  7. The food looks so amazing! You made me hungry now! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

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    1. It was so good, Ariadna! Definitely worth a try. x

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  8. This place sounds so good - I know what you mean about disappointing brunches, I've been to a few recently where I've been starving already, had to wait in line and then been served the tiniest portion (when I always thought brunch basically meant eating two meals worth of food in one). I always judge a restaurant by their coffee! x

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    1. HAHA - I love your sentiment re: two meals in one, Lily! I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at the portion sizes at first (at Petit Pois), but I left feeling super full ... and it lasted all afternoon, so I wonder if my eyes are bigger than my stomach normally!

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  9. Oh dear... so close to my office... going to have to try it ASAP!

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    1. Oh, you've got to - in fact, maybe I should meet you for dinner there one evening???

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  10. I wish more places did do all day brunch. Last week, we ended up having home made scrambled egg with chives on an English muffin for breakfast at the weekend and loved it so much that we then had it for dinner later in the week - who knew eggs and bread cooked nicely make such a perfect post work week night dinner?! This place sounds just lovely and there's a lot to be said about not needing the hype. If the food is great, it will speak to itself with or without the Insta hype!

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    1. YUM, Shikha! That's definitely my kind of breakfast AND dinner. John's not so keen, but left to my own devices, I'd probably have breakfast for dinner at least once in a while!

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  11. I think I have always been Anerican at heart because I can eat breakfast any time of the day! And this post just made me hungry for some eggs, everything looks delicious.���� xoxo, nano

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    1. We're definitely into our all-day breakfasts and brunches, Nano! It's what I look forward to when I go back to visit my parents.

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  12. Really enjoyed your review Jaie, such beautiful photos and you've sold me on going here for brunch! I love the old school vibe and perfect poached eggs of course :)

    Hanh | hanhabelle

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    1. Thank you, Hanh! I loved our brunch there and I can't wait to try out the dinner menu too! You should definitely drop by sometime.

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