Oh Brunch, let me count the ways in which I love you.
You aren’t early enough to be breakfast (tummy too tired to function) but you aren’t late enough to be lunch (argh half the day passed already). You are the perfect inbetween; a fake meal who snuck into my life and stole the best meal prize. The best brunches include a good friend for company, lots of re-ordering pots of tea, the Sunday newspapers, a scrabble board and going 2 rounds of food so you can try two different types of breakfast combinations.
The best brunches start with sleepy Sunday eyes and I need coffeeee, and end when the sun is setting again and you realise that brunch became lunch and dinner and your entire day. Brunch is unrushable, basically!
I’ve taken my job of discovering the best places to brunch very seriously and here is the top five. If you ever want to discuss this shortlist over brunch… that would be swell. (Especially at The Woseley aka Brunch venue of the stars and way out of my lowly price range; who’s menu I have downloaded on my desktop and read sometimes just for fun. SAD…)
#1. S&M Cafe Spitalfields, 48 Brushfield Road, London, E1 6AG :
Be sure to sign up to the lovers club for amazing offers. Straight away you get £10 funny money which should see you a couple of trips for free!
Despite the fear in some compainions eyes when I tell them I’m taking them to an S&M cafe, there is nothing kinky here except the occasional Carry On film-still on a menu. S&M stands for Sausage & Mash, which the cafe specialises in when it isn’t serving up KILLER brunches! Cute red gingham table clothes, oh so friendly staff and – for London – the cheapest edible brunches I have found so far. You can get 3 breakfast items of your choice (including the holy grail that is bubble&squeak) for £3.25 and a cup of tea for £1.40. If you’re on a post pay day rampage then you should go bigger and braver. Their day job as sausage specialists means there are treats such as marmite or caerphilly cheese & leek bangers to try.
#2. Riveresque 15 Bridge End Road, Leeds, LS1 7HG
A picture tells a thousand words and hopefully this one is telling you that the Riveresque cafe WINS the portion size prize. I mean count it for yourself! That’s 4 toasts, 2 hash browns, 2 eggs, 4 sausages, 3 bacons, beans, mushrooms and tomato. For £5. I can’t see how they’re turning a profit but boy was I grateful (need to work on my grateful face) Added to the generosity, you get a neat view of the river and randomly, a heaving back catalogue of Chat magazines to browse through. After the 2nd egg; reading Love thy neighbour: the girl next door sliced my Mels head off for £30! wasn’t a great move. Please go, but please take your own reading material.
#3. The Pot 38 Crwys Road, Cardiff, CR24 4NR : Click
It’s quite ironic that I had my first ever traditional American breakfast in Wales, but I can’t imagine the yanks make them any better. Wow-wee. Waffles, pancakes stacked to the sky, bacon, maple syrup and the perfect sunny side up. This little gem might involve a hefty hike out of the town centre to the student patch of Cardiff, but it is well worth the treck and hey, you’ll have walked off any calories you injest when you can’t resist the chocolate cookie milkshake. The decor here is flea market/shabby chic and the most serene spot to while away some hours. The waitresses are also adorable, all decked out in frilly polka dotted pinnies and so friendly that it definitely feels like you can stretch out and sit it out for the long weekend haul.
#4. Clock Cafe, Headingley Lane, Leeds, LS6
Is it called Clock Cafe? Or LS6? A long, pointless, bone of contention between Leeds residents Vs the Leeds student population! This place means business and isn’t in any way meant to be visited for less than three hours. Pitch up in one of the huge boothes, grab yourself scrabble and buckaroo and start calling friends to visit you over the course of the day. Afraid the brunch menu isn’t up to much, so this is a location for when you have a serious hangover. Then you can order the giant portion of dutch fries (of which the hot skinny waitresses like to ask ‘are you sure you want a whole portion to yourself, they are very big’ the answer is YES YES YOU DO!) mm curly fries, cheese, mayo and ketchup. Add in an iced coffee and a few hours later the fairy lights come on and the cafe turns into a bar and you can order a Fruli beer and start the night where your day began.
#5. The Breakfast Club 2-4 Rufus Street, Hoxton, N1 6PE : Click
Wins the best cafe name before I even step foot over the threshold. I hadbeen perusing this joint on the internet for weeks before I even moved to London and my hopes were high as it boasts 2nd place in the Observer food awards – Best UK Breakfast line-up. Brunch here quite regularly involves a queue first and even then, it’s so busy you may well have to sit on the big shared tables with… STRANGERS argh! So not one for shy and retiring types, or people who want to swap secrets. The menu is epic though with absolutely tons of choice; including a dish called Green Eggs & Ham ♥ If you like a side portion of risk with your eggs opt for the charity breakfast – where you flip a coin and if you win – you get a £12 brekkie for £4. If you lose, you pay £12 but the extra money is donated to charity. Although I would recommend The Breakfast Club, all the staff I’ve encountered are very East London Cool (read: surly and quite affronted when faced with this prospect of you actually wanting to order food from them, rather than just gaze lovingly at them!) so do not go if you are on the verge of losing consciousness with hunger as service is slightly slow and sometimes stroppy!
PS. In non brunch information, I finally have a blog email address. firstname.lastname@example.org – feedback, brunch recommendations, thoughts, ideas for posts and well anything you’d like to say here please!