That precious portmanteau that all new Londoners, hipsters, yoga mummies and avocado enthusiasts live for: brunch. An all-encompassing meal, brunches can be whatever the hell you fancy at whatever time of day you want (before around 5pm.) Urban Dictionary’s top definition cites it as a:
Contraction of breakfast and lunch, usually occurring around the hour of 11 a.m. Typically reserved for snobs and biddies who like tea and jam.
“Muffy, would you care for a bit of brunch after tennis? I can make reservations at the Forsythia Garden Tea House.”
1. CAU – Argentinian Steak
St Katherine’s Dock is a neatly tucked away gem, the Shad Thames of East London. Just off Tower Bridge on the north side, it looks like a continental marina and surely in the summer, it feels like one too. It’s relaxing enough for a lazy Saturday and is an exciting place to go if brunch is this weekend’s main event.
Renowned steak restaurant chain Gaucho brings a Buenos Aires inspired, family-friendly spin-off, CAU. With Argentinian steak as the main feature on the menu, inspiration is drawn from plenty of different cuisines and their recently launched bottomless brunch, doesn’t hold back. We began with house prosecco and tucked into their famous sharing platter. It was a selection of breads, a mountain of olives, beef empanadas, chicken coxinhas and particularly moreish was the goat’s cheese flatbread.
The service is as smooth as the interior design with slick black ceilings, grass print walls and white PVC, it was a retro nightclub with all the finesse of a restaurant. After more prosecco, we moved onto the main and signature dish. Tapa de cuadril is a cut of beef coming from the top of the rump, thinly sliced and ash-grilled. The only thing traditionally brunch-y about it was the two fresh hen eggs served on top – an admittedly Brazilian way of serving the Argentine classic. The starter and the main are hearty, but it’s the weekend, so go the extra mile and try the Cau Cornflake Sundae or the Choco Blondie with peanut butter frosting.
£25 Per Person (Every Saturday)
1 Commodity Quay
2. TOOTOOMOO – Pan Asian Tapas
About 3 minutes walk from Highbury and Islington station is the vibrant street food eatery, Tootoomoo. Brunch is probably the last thing you’d expect here; the rustic, South East Asian theme and intimate seating arrangement feels like you’ve just stepped into a tropical fishing village shack. The full “Asian tapas” menu combines Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese for the ultimate Asian fusion.
We immediately indulged in the TooToo Tapas, small plates, quite like dim sum. The chicken gyozas, hoisin duck rolls, Shichimi squid (like calamari) and char siu ribs were delicious and a perfect amount if there’s two of you eating. In between courses, we enjoyed a jug of Elderflower Tootoomoo; gin, sparkling elderflower, fresh mint and lime. For the main, we couldn’t resist the Singapore fried noodles and jasmine rice with a fiery Szechuan Chilli beef dish; two classic favourites that didn’t disappoint.
As long as you finish your dishes, you can order as much as you like so it’s a table service all-you-can-eat buffet with unlimited cocktails and wine. If you’re in the area at the weekend and fancy an oriental fix, definitely go for the bottomless brunch as you’ll want to try everything on the menu and it’s great value for money.
From £35 Per Person
278 St Pauls Road
3. SHORYU – Unlimited Ramen
As a self-confessed ramen monster, I was always going to love this brunch. If you’ve been to Shoryu in central London, you’ll know how exciting it is to get a big steaming bowl of succulent meat and noodles with all the trimmings and a side of tempura prawns. We settled into the Covent Garden branch, anticipating the impressive menu which included four sides each and an endless bowl of ramen of your choice.
The small plates included chicken karaage, tiger prawn tempura, takoyaki, black sesame tofu and gyoza and they are as delicious as they sound. Choose one or all of the ramen flavours but the traditional Shoryu ganso tonkotsu is the classic bone broth (seen above) comes with melt-in-the-mouth pork, eggs and seaweed topping. The most notable of the small plates on the menu is the char siu bun – if you like bao, you’ll love this.
Kobai plum wine and Sapporo beer is unlimited so to get through this and all the courses, you’ll have to take your time. If you can fit in dessert, we had two scoops of yuzu and black sesame ice cream.
£38 Per Person (Every Sunday)
At Shoryu Covent Garden and Liverpool Street
4. BUNGA BUNGA – Immersive Theatrical Experience
Even outside London, people are likely to have heard of the boisterous entertainment house and Italian restaurant, Bunga Bunga. It is most known for live entertainment while you eat and the Covent Garden branch is no exception. The team have recently launched a bottomless Matinee Brunch, not only with a delicious menu, but also an attention-grabbing variety show that happens while you eat.
In keeping with Bunga Bunga’s theme of infamous Italian characters, you’ll be immersed with Southern Italian-style entertainment from The Bunga Boys to Bunga-OKE (Bunga Bunga Kareoke) where guests sing along with the house band karaoke style. It’s a multisensory transportation to the back streets of southern Italy and it really is an experience you have to live to understand. In short, if you’re after a bit of a wildcard to impress your daytime date, forget the theatre, this is the matinee brunch for you.
£44 Per Person
167 Drury Lane
5. SKYLON – “Saxy Brunch”
In a beautiful setting of the Royal Festival Hall on Southbank, Sklyon serves modern British cuisine with incredible views of the River Thames. This is the brunch-iest of the list with eggs, smoked salmon and breakfast food on the menu all familiarly brunch but still with a twist.
The menu, curated by head chef and brunch extraordinaire, Kim Woodward, the luxury menu makes it stand out from your average; soft boiled egg with lobster, truffle and caviar toast, wild mushrooms on grilled focaccia with fried duck eggs are just a few of the delights. Round off the meal with croissant ice cream parfait with orange marmalade or a warm waffle with honeycomb ice cream and berries.
If the menu sounds good, the entertainment is even better. This month, they’re “bringing Saxy back” with a resident saxophonist playing funky tunes and of course, a DJ while you tuck into brunch and sip on endless prosecco bubbles. With panoramic views of London and a stylish comfortable interior, Skylon is a cosy paradise and the ideal indoor venue for a laid-back autumnal Saturday.
£35 Per Person (Every Saturday)
Royal Festival Hall