I have two new words for the English dictionary – ‘Brunchtime’ and ‘Bruncherie’. ‘Brunchtime’ takes place at around 11.30am on a Saturday morning when I eat a version of Eggs Benedict. ‘Bruncherie’ is the place I go at brunchtime if I’m too lazy to cook at home.
If you share my love of brunch, here is my list of the top five bruncheries in the big smoke, as well as one rotten egg.
1. Tom’s Deli, 226 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RH
You can, and should, expect a lot from Tom’s (including a long queue). It’s a beautifully quirky deli that looks a bit like the sweet shop in The Giraffe & The Pelly & Me. Even the menu has elements of surprise in it, such as my tasty Eggs Benedict Flamenco from the Eggsactley section. Although I’m a sucker for Eggs Benedict Royal, I enjoyed the change at Tom’s as the combination of tomato, chilli, chorizo and egg transported me back to my time in Mexico.
2. Duck Egg Cafe, 424 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF
If you too love eggs, this is the bruncherie for you as you get to eat large and satisfyingly duck eggs. After queuing for a short time, I ignored the boring standard egg choice and ordered Duck Eggs Benedict with Field Mushrooms. Even though the eggs had been cooked in a mould, which I never find aesthetically pleasing, it had an eggtastic flavour that filled me to the brim, leaving no room for the superfluous hash brown.
3. The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
One of my best birthday presents last year had to be my trip to The Wolseley at brunchtime. The Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon looked like it’d been made by angels, with its thick wraps of salmon encircling the most lovely poached eggs, all topped with light, lemony hollandaise sauce. It’s a shame I don’t have an image to illustrate this stomach rumbling delight, but sadly Little Lady Eats didn’t exist in April last year. Instead, I’ll finish by applauding the fact you have to book so far in advance – frustrating for some, but for others it’s precious time to save pennies as brunch at The Wolseley sure as hell ain’t cheap.
4. Raoul’s, 113-115 Hammersmith Grove, London W6 ONQ
With restaurants in Notting Hill, Maida Vale and Hammersmith, Raoul’s was made for ladies who brunch. Sadly, I don’t fall into that category, but if I did, I’d be able to indulge in its perfectly cooked Eggs Benedict Royal every day as its smaller size wouldn’t make me fat from all the sitting down I’d be doing. That said, I’d have to end my love affair with Raoul’s if I kept indulging in a second course of blueberry bursting, maple-syrup absorbing, crispy pancakes.
5. The Alice House, 283-285 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 1RD
Considering it’s a pub, The Alice House makes a great brunchtime destination. Its forte is the eggs, which resemble water balloons about to burst due to the amount of gloriously orange yolk inside. Much like Raoul’s, the size is perfect for a lady and the hollandaise is light and creamy with just the right amount of lemon.
The Rotten Egg: The Providores, 109 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4RX
Ok, so rotten egg is a little harsh, but I was really disappointed when I went to The Providores last weekend. I’ve only ever heard good things, so was surprised when my magnificent sounding hot-smoked salmon with two poached organic eggs and spinach on walnut toast with yuzu hollandaise, turned out to be quite bland. I was even more surprised, and slightly disgusted, to see the £6 booking charge on my bill, which came on top of the 12.5% tip. This didn’t happen in The Wolseley, so certainly shouldn’t happen here and, even though I’d be interested to try dinner, I certainly won’t be visiting at brunchtime again.