Hello, hello, hello! Yes, long time, no brunch. If you think it’s been hard for you, think about what we’ve been going through! Working different weekend schedules has really messed up our brunch blogging, make no mistake.
This date has been in my diary for months in heated anticipation. Matt, our American friend, is back in the UK for the first time in four years, and we’re taking him to brunch. Not just any brunch. Bottomless brunch.
I did a lot of research on Timeout and Buzzfeed to find the right place. I wanted bottomless booze, but I didn’t want to feel short-changed on the food either. It needed to be reasonably affordable, easy to get to, serving at noon on Sundays and absolutely delicious. It was a surprisingly difficult task, but after a bit of hunting around, I discovered Bad Egg.
Bad Egg is a Latin American style diner that does ‘small plate’ brunches. With the bottomless brunch deal, you get 3 small plates, as well as endless bloody marys, frizzante or mimosas, for up to two hours. The price is £35, plus service.
There are about 13 dishes on the menu, so with three of us getting three dishes each, we got a nice taste of the bulk of what’s on offer. This is definitely the way to do it – most things split easily two ways, but we managed between three of us to get a good amount of everything. My favourite was the French Toast – much better value than the pancakes, we got it with berries and vanilla cream and it was delicious and filling. I made the mistake of eating it first, because it arrived first and the waitress put it right in front of me, when it should clearly have been my dessert palate cleanser.
The Chilaquiles were surprisingly crisp and despite coming with “goat’s curd” (which I was sure I would not like) they did not taste at all goaty. I also loved the macanchini, tiny little fried mac&cheese balls – I’ve decided that when I get married they will be served as hors d’oeurves at my wedding. My only food complaint was that I felt the Guacamole was under-seasoned – I want my Guac to have a chilli punch, a limey zing, and a good kick of salt, whereas this was basically just mashed avocado (fine, but don’t call it Guacamole, and you still need salt).
In general, this felt less ‘bottomless’ than Made in Camden – we didn’t get the endlessly replaced pastries and toast, and we were firmly booted out after our two hours were up. But the booze flowed freely – the waitress never knowingly left us un-topped up and made the drinks nice and strong – and the food was delicious.
Still, our quest for the perfect bottomless brunch is not yet over – onwards! (well, probably not for six more months, at this rate…)
As a British person, here are the things I love most about hanging out with Americans:
1) Funny accents.
2) They find everything you say hilarious.
3) Comparing all the things you do slightly differently literally never gets old.
Sidebar: I tried to find a gif of that bit in Love Actually where they say “bottle” at each other and then burst out laughing over and over again. But I guess it’s more of an aural joke.
In Matt’s case, as soon as he said he was coming back to the UK I knew that we should take him to brunch because
he’s one of our three regular readers we would have a nice time and his blog gets way more hits than ours there were no ulterior motives. Also his blog gets way more hits than ours.
Personally, I would put Bad Egg up there with some of our best ever brunches. It was a sunny morning, we had largely avoided any hangovers from our “welcome back to England” party the night before, and I was excited not to be at work on a Sunday for once.
Things got off to a great transatlantic start when we were choosing what to order, and I said how excited I was by the idea of fried chicken pancakes with bananas. Bananas! How great is that? And then Matt was all “I dunno, I just feel like I have that all the time.”
THAT’S PEOPLE FROM BROOKLYN FOR YOU I GUESS.
While I loved all the dishes Hattie mentioned in her bit, it was the chicken and banana that really blew me away. The combination wasn’t something I would have been into a year ago (when I didn’t eat fruit, as has been well documented) but it worked perfectly. If I had to choose just one of those plates again, it would be that one. Hands down.
Surprisingly, my second favourite ALSO contained fruit. Unlike Hattie, I had the foresight to leave my portion of blueberry and vanilla French toast until the end, which meant I could enjoy it extremely slowly over our final hour of sitting around having our mimosas refilled. And it was amazing. The French toast was so thick, and the toppings were so generous, it didn’t even matter that we’d split the dish into three – it was perfect.
One key bit of advice: if you’re sharing lots of dishes, ask the waiting staff if they can bring them out slowly. As it was, we got so overwhelmed by having nine dishes on the table, we ate them too quickly and didn’t really appreciate each one as much as it deserved.
And now… It’s time for the opinions of our special guest star, all the way from the other side of the ocean! Give it up for Matthew! *The crowd goes wild*
Oh good. Someone already mentioned that thing I actually said about chicken and waffles. I’m a millennial living in the hipster part of Brooklyn and one of my great joys in life is brunch. I’m part of the problem.
The chilaquiles were my surprise favorite too, but I’m surprised that no one’s given any love for the pulled pork, beans, and kimchi on toast. This was the really interesting one for me. Maybe it was just me personally, since I’ve spent time in the UK (Beans on toast! Who did that? It gets me every time!), South Korea (There is always kimchi. Always.), and Brooklyn (Where you’ll come across a fusion of pretty much anything sooner or later), but that was the dish I walked away from this brunch thinking I’ve got to try making it for myself sometime.
But you really can’t go wrong with the variety of options here. There’s four different types of french toast or pancake plates for the breakfast purists (note that these are British pancakes, not the American pancakes we were all anticipating for some reason, so you’re probably better off choosing french toast just to support all the toppings), but there’s some great creativity to be found as well. Hattie’s mentioned the macanchini, which was perfect.
I’m still deliberating over the cheeseburger hash, which is exactly what it sounds like: someone realized that a cheeseburger and fries is pretty easily translated into a breakfast food, what with the meat, cheese, and potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, this is not something you’re ordering to appreciate the nuanced art of cooking. This is a simple pleasure. But I wish it had used any cheese other than American cheese (ironically, I think I was the only one who felt strongly about that), and the meat seemed to actually have been broken up bits of hamburger rather than just beef mixed into the proceedings, which was rather chunky and unnecessary. I would have already gathered that, in another life, this meal would have been a cheeseburger.
I didn’t take as much issue with the strict two-hour time limit. The staff made absolute certain you had a mimosa in front of you at all times, and any more than two hours of that would probably risk turning it into a not-so-great experience. (Editorial note: what a lightweight. – Amy) There were also only two single-occupancy toilets, and that was already becoming an issue with the amount of booze everyone in the restaurant was having.
It’s worth pointing out that it’s somewhat on the pricey side for the actual volume of food you get, but I have nothing to complain about with Bad Egg. The staff was friendly, the service was fast, the food was delicious, and alcohol happened. Amy and Hattie have proven to me that they do not take the name “Best Brunch Ever” lightly.