How we brunched:
Another Sunday morning in London, another brunch day. I had been to Gail’s Kitchen for lunch once before, but hadn’t remembered until we arrived on the doorstep. The life of a foodie, eh? It was a reassuring surprise, because the lunch I had – a few small plates, shared with my mother, London-style – had been excellent, so I was looking forward to brunch.
The restaurant was full but calm, and the staff seated us with a smile and an air of professionalism. They quickly cottoned on to the fact that we were looking for a leisurely brunch and we didn’t feel at all hurried. We were dining with a vegetarian, and had to google “Challa Bread” and “dukkah” to establish that his choice was a meat free option.
I ordered the Mackerel, with horseradish cream and a poached duck egg on toast, because I wanted to order something that I wouldn’t eat at home or see on other menus. The food was good, but I thought the proportions were a little off – my horseradish cream was overflowing the plate and it overpowered the dish a little. My other friend ordered the duck egg, chorizo, potato and tomato butter, and I have never seen her eat with such enthusiasm – that will definitely be my order next time I visit.
They made up for it with desserts though. Gail’s Kitchen is attached to an artisan bakery, and the carrot cream tart I ordered was perfection – a crumbly pastry, with light as air carrot and cinnamon filling, served with a kick of ginger ice cream.
I would go back to Gail’s Kitchen – the food was simple and tasty, but not too rich. There’s enough choice on the menu that you could have a different experience every time. You didn’t have to queue for hours or book well in advance. The atmosphere was calm. The prices were reasonable. I was talking to Amy about how my review this week didn’t seem to be very funny, and she said “sometimes, brunch is just brunch”. And I think that pretty much sums up how I felt.
When we were browsing through menus, trying to decide where to go for brunch that weekend, we saw a lot of interesting dishes. We want to keep this blog interesting – we don’t just want to write about how great fry ups are every single time (although, you know, they ARE pretty incredible).
But the hallmark of a good brunch is something a little different, you know? Something that’s going to make you remember it
Unfortunately, there was only one thing this weekend that I was interested in.
“That one doesn’t have pancakes,” I pointed out as we looked at the 284th menu of the evening.
“True,” Hattie replied.
“Literally all I want is pancakes.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Hattie was actually beginning to look a little bit like a stack of pancakes. One wrong move and I would have been pouring maple syrup on her head.
When we showed up at Gail’s Kitchen the next day, I was really impressed by the atmosphere. The staff were friendly, it was busy but not too cramped, and it was clear that a lot of thought had gone into making every part of the experience interesting and a little bit different.
There are some classy things on that menu, but it was pretty clear what I had to order: pancakes with streaky bacon, maple and butter. I’d love to go back and try out some of the others, but it’s important to get the basic dishes right too. This had at least four rashers of crispy bacon, the pancakes were the light and fluffy American kind, and the maple syrup blended it together nicely. God bless whichever Canadian first came up with such a weird but brilliant idea. (I just tried to Google the answer but sadly it didn’t work.)
The whole thing was finished with cookies straight from the oven (which were as magical as cookies straight from the oven always are), and a glass bottle of milk reminiscent of school playtimes – the red and white paper straw was a cute finishing touch, the kind of quirky detail that made the atmosphere so sweet and personal.
Oh – and they presented our bill in a battered vintage toffee tin, ensuring that every detail of the meal had an unusual twist. Perfect.
3/5 – I don’t think I ordered the best thing, but my friends were all happy.
4/5 – Did exactly the job I wanted it to do.
4.5/5 – All the staples were there and there were interesting extra additions, don’t be deceived by the menu length.
3.5/5 – What was on the menu was all really interesting and diverse, but there were still only nine dishes to choose from.
3/5 – Not much range or anything that interesting to drink, and my coffee was too cold for my tastes.
4/5 – There are some interesting cocktails on the menu and the coffee was good too.
4.5/5 – Beautifully done and a lovely end for the meal.
4.5/5 – Definitely the best bit, I loved the presentation and they didn’t skimp on the three cookies.
4.5/5 – Calm, effortlessly cool with great baking smells, and only slightly generic.
4.5/5 – Really great, you could easily spend a whole afternoon there by accident.
4/5 – Food quality is good and pretty normal London prices.
4/5 – It was a little pricey, but still good for central London, and the food was worth it.
4.5/5 – Friendly, professional, relaxed service.
4.5/5 – They sussed out that we wanted to take our time, and we never felt pressured to order quicker or leave earlier.
– Social Media
4.5/5 – We could see the guy checking the twitter account on the table next to us, it was great.
4.5/5 – They favourited all the tweets they were tagged in, and they RT’d my picture of all our meals and the Twitter account seems pretty active.
Total points: 66
Fancy food props – 4.5/5
Funky choons – 5/5
Bonus points: 9.5