Bottomless brunch is everywhere. It’s either Prosecco that’s constantly topped up before you’ve even finished your glass (rather dangerous), or mimosas and Bloody Marys on demand. But if you’re not a drinker, or not after a boozy day out, what’s more appealing is bottomless food. And I’m glad it’s been named “bottomless”. As for me, all you can eat – which, let’s face it, this essentially is – conjures up memories of a dark Chinese-style buffet with horrible small side plates and the stench of food left all day long under hot lamps.
But this is not that.
Inside the Devonshire Club in east London, just a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street station, the Brasserie serves brunch between 11.30am and 4pm on Sunday. It might be a member’s club, but non-members can book through OpenTable’s online booking system.
It sits 110 guests, with on-trend mustard bar stools at the elegant gold and marble bar, navy club chairs at tables and red booth-style seating at the back, which allow the best views of the restaurant.
For the grand sum of £30 (which seems entirely reasonable for what’s on offer) you can help yourself to salads on the bar, try the oysters, have your bacon and eggs and even sample roast beef. It’s endless. The beauty of it is that you can take brunch to mean whatever you want. Some think eggs benedict, bacon and avocado while others want bigger lunch items such as club sandwiches. So if you’re in a group, it’s more than likely to please all.
I started with the oysters and salads. They’re the type of salads your mum would slave over for barbecues, but you’d probably never make yourself: Full of olives, feta, the best Caesar salad, avocado and pomegranate. Just don’t fill up on it.
You could begin with more “breakfasty” items: There’s fruit, porridge and granola available. Next, we went for classic brunch dishes: American pancakes with crispy streaky bacon. At first, I thought it looked small, but, with four pancakes, my eyes were bigger than my belly. The avocado and poached eggs on toast is perfect balanced on one slice of hand-cut bread.
You can then move on to more starter-like items – red lentil, chili and coriander soup or chicken liver parfait. But the roast beef, which is cut at your table on a trolley is pretty indulgent. But it’s not over yet – there’s an excellent cheeseboard and plenty of puddings too.
And, of course, the alcohol has not been forgotten – their “classic Sunday cocktails” include Bellini, Bloody Mary, Aperol Spritz, mimosa and Negroni (£8-£10). The Bellinis are fruity and light, but if you want more value, go for the bottomless Prosecco for £15.
Go hungry. No, seriously, go hungry. The food is of a high standard and you’ll be annoyed if you can’t make the best of it. But considering it’s pretty good value – with beautiful interiors and great service – you could go back…
Devonshire Club, 4+5 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YD; 020 3750 4545; email@example.com; devonshire.club
Eggs benedict with spinach and chorizo hollandaise by Omar Allibhoy
Eggs Benedict are unbeatable, the perfect brunch to me. Not Spanish at all, but when I made the chorizo hollandaise for the first time I swear I thought I had just changed the world forever. I thought to myself, “I have just brought eggs Benedict to a whole other level.” I was full of pride. I don’t want to sound arrogant but, honestly, my weekend mornings haven’t been the same again since.
2 fresh Spanish chorizo sausages (preferably lightly smoked), finely chopped
450g unsalted butter
4-8 eggs, plus 5 yolks
juice from ½ lemon
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
250g baby spinach
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices toasted brioche, to serve
sweet pimentón (sweet smoked paprika), to serve
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and dry-fry the chorizo for three to four minutes. Add the butter and melt.
Pour some water into a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, two tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt to a heatproof bowl slightly larger than the saucepan. Rest the bowl over the saucepan and whisk for about two minutes or until it gets fluffy, taking care not to overcook it. While whisking, slowly add the chorizo butter in a thin stream until the sauce has fully emulsified and has a creamy mayonnaise texture. Add a touch of salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry the garlic for a few seconds before adding the baby spinach. Cook for one minute to allow the spinach leaves to wilt. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Lay the toasted brioche slices on serving plates and top with a spoonful of spinach.
One at a time, break each egg into a ramekin and pour into a pan of simmering water. Gently poach for two to three minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and place one or two eggs on top of each brioche. To finish, spoon the warm chorizo hollandaise over the poached eggs and sprinkle pimentón over each one.
Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day by Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution (Quadrille £20)
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