I have been having a thing about brunch lately. I think it’s because I was spoiled with eating french toast every morning for breakfast while on holiday, and I got a little addicted. French toast + bacon + maple syrup = heaven for me! Mmm mmm mm!
Since getting back, every weekend I’ve been kvetching about the lack of decent brunch around here. Finding a place for a good fry-up is easy, because it ain’t called an English breakfast for nothing, eh? But for American brunch?? No such love, despite the fact that the number one thing that Britons seem to love about the US is…the breakfast. Go figure.
First off, I know it’s called “brunch”, but in civilised places (ie, NYC) it is served into the afternoon, usually until about 5 pm. I consider this civilised because the weekends are for sleeping in and one shouldn’t have to rush out of bed in order to get an eggs benedict fix before noon. Having brunch for a late lunch is the only proper way to go about these things.
We tried to have a bit of brunch last weekend and went to a nearby Cafe Rouge for their Pain Perdu punctually before noon (sigh). However, they did not have maple syrup, only honey. Heresy. I shun them henceforth and forever. Also, I have of course been acquainted with the Breakfast Club, which does an excellent brunch from 9-5 every day. However there is generally a queue out the door on the weekends, and I don’t do queues. I do reservations.
So I made a reservation at Christopher’s Grill yesterday, which is in Covent Garden just off of Aldwych. It is like Valhalla for the American-brunch-aficionado civilised classes (although it is a bit Nappy Valley, beware of toddlers).
Brunch is served until a leisurely 3.30pm there on the weekends, as is proper. There are white tablecloths. There is an amazing staircase up to the dining room (see below). They have all sorts of tea and the menu is comprehensive, but I of course went straight for french toast with roasted peaches, bacon, hash browns, and lashings of maple syrup. Mr Man got the blueberry pancakes and yet more bacon. I also sampled their Virgin Mary/Bloody Shame.
Verdict: Perfection. I was DESPERATE for a bit of proper brunch, and they exceeded my expectations. We will definitely be repeat customers. Perhaps I should set up a standing Saturday afternoon reservation!
Nevertheless, London needs more good brunch places. After all, there are two meals that are the epitome of civilised: brunch and high tea. London has the high tea covered, but there’s still a gap in the market for brunch. Otherwise, how else to explain the persistent queues at The Breakfast Club? Too much demand, not enough supply. Get on that for me, will you?