How we brunched:
Because we technically live in Chelmsford where there is a distinct lack of good brunching, we have to crash in London to get up in time for the best brunching experiences. Sometimes this means invading someone’s living space, and sometimes that person is your younger brother. My instinct is to repay in kind by inviting said brother to brunch, but when the brother is one of the fussiest eaters you know, it can be challenging to find somewhere that will feel like a reward to him, rather than further punishment.
Still, if there’s two things my brother always has and always will eat, it’s fried chicken, and waffle. When I presented him with a variety of brunching options, I wasn’t surprised he picked the Lockhart in Marylebone.
The Lockhart is the place to go if you want food that tastes like it’s come from the most loud and colourfully authentic American Diner but an atmosphere that quietly whispers “I don’t care if you’re still hungover at 1pm on Sunday, sit down, here’s some coffee. Have a donut. There, doesn’t that feel better?” The walls are white, the tables are bare wood, and sunlight streams in through the patio doors. Everyone is talking quietly but everyone is smiling and the waiters wear double denim in a way that feels comforting, like the most nostalgic parts of the Nineties.
The menu is short, which is good if your brain is too foggy to make a lot of choices, and the food is salty and fatty enough to smack you round the face, shake you by the shoulders and tell you to face the day. While we were deciding, the waiters brought us three kinds of donuts, which are available for takeaway during the week. I ordered Smoked Pork Hash with a fried egg, and was blown away by how perfectly balanced it was. The flavours were rich, cut through with sharp spring onion and a smoky pork flavour that coated everything. The coffee was strong. I ordered a Bellini to take the edge off the afternoon and it was sharp and sparkling.
We made conversation. We watched our fellow diners. We ate happily. Everything was bright and glittery.
Ah, the Lockhart. Much like her fussy brother, Hattie was able to sell this one to me pretty easily with the words “fried chicken waffle” (not that she ever needs to “sell” brunch to me of course).
Being the crazy (read: hungover) cats that we are, we ordered our sweet course first. Now, I have to admit that I sometimes have a problem with donuts; not because they are too sugary or I’m worried they’re bad for me, but because they often have jam in them. And as someone who irrationally hates all fruit, I find that very distressing.
Luckily, the waiting staff put those fears to rest pretty quickly. “The flavours are salted caramel, vanilla and chocolate”.
I mean… I mean, really. Not a single fruity abomination. I could have made out with them right there on that table, except it might have been awkward for the other two present.
Instead, we ordered all three and divided each into thirds so that we could try some of each filling and we all got a fair amount of filling plus a little extra to dip in – and each flavour was great.
By the time the fried chicken and waffle arrived and I had polished off a large, delicious latte, the meal was actually looking a little much. Would I really be able to finish that? I was still feeling pretty delicate and we all remember what happened last time I got a little overly enthusiastic about waffles.
But I am a professional, and as soon as I tucked in, all those fears disappeared. The chicken was crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside, and the waffle was, well, a waffle. There probably wasn’t quite enough maple syrup because when you ran out of dipping supply the chicken and waffle were a little too dry together, and although the individual elements were cooked to perfection, the dish as a whole lacked the wow factor that gets me hyperventilating. The answer was probably more syrup.
Still, that’s a small thing, and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a hearty hangover meal – or just some donuts without those pesky vitamins.
4/5 – It was rich but very tasty, flavours perfectly balanced.
4/5 – Didn’t blow my head off but I would go there again.
2.5/5- It’s a very limited menu for a very specific cuisine.
2.5/5 – Yeah.
3.5/5 – I had a great coffee and a great cocktail but more range would be nice.
4/5 – Great coffee, great peppermint tea, pretty much all I need from brunch.
3.5/5 – I thought the donut fillings lacked a bit of flavour but, heck, they were still donuts. That’s your only real option though.
4/5 – Hattie’s right, there could be more choice, but they get extra points from me for not using jam.
5/5 – For me, London trendy without being overwhelming, all I really want from a brunch location.
4.5/5 – DENIM EVERYWHERE.
2.5/5 – A bit on the expensive side, really.
2/5 – Agreed.
4/5 – Not particularly jazz hands but efficient and friendly.
4.5/5 – Does the denim count in this category too?
– Social Media
3.5/5 – Favourite our tweets and relatively active, but very ~promotional~ feel to their feed.
3/5 – Why do none of the brunch places ever follow me? 😦
Total points: 57
Fancy food props: 3/5
Stylish waitstaff: 5/5
Nice lighting: 4/5
Bonus points: 12