On the eve of the opening of José Pizarro’s eponymous new space, the man himself was good enough to throw open the doors to a bustling crowd and invite us down to sample the wares.
I think everyone has already described the space as ‘cosy’ – and that’s as much down to the service and the atmosphere as the bijou size of the place. It seats seventeen covers apparently, and the house speciality is small sharing plates. We guzzled gazpacho (given that I’m not a huge tomato fan, this even took me by surprise) and tussled over tortilla, accompanied by a great Cava and a Fino – will have to go back and study the lists properly. What a chore, eh?
With his strong focus on both the sherry selection and daily market specials, José has created a spot that you could pop into over and over again – just to make sure you’re not missing out, of course. We loved the hake with aioli, the croquettas, the manchego – and it went on and on. Plenty of justification for visiting again in the very near future.
Thank you to the gorgeous Hannah at Nourish for inviting us.
José, 104 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UB
Open: Mon-Fri 12:00-22:30; Sat 10:00-22:30; Sun 10:00-18:00
T: 020 7403 4902 (no reservations)
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of running into some of the very wonderful Jamie Oliver crew. A couple of weeks ago we gathered at Fifteen, lured by the promise of what turned out to be, frankly, the finest Hot Cross Buns known to man.
There they are in all their sticky glossy gloriousness. We had the privilege of sitting with the lovely Kenny, master baker at Fifteen who’d also made delicious candy-coloured rhubarb and ginger jam which we piled on high, before I proceeded to pillage the vast brunch menu, and order….
Yeah. The fruit plate and the porridge. I was obviously having some sort of healthy epiphany (short-lived, natch) but it was actually very good and here’s where I think Fifteen scores very highly – it does a proper brunch. By that I mean there are decent Bloody Marys – ok, not unlimited but let’s not run before we can walk here – and a wide range of food options from sweet to savoury with the traditional hangover cures in the middle. I did slightly wish I’d followed Louis‘ example and had the eggy brioche though because actually, I think anything coming out of Kenny’s kitchen is going to be superbly good and just having his sourdough bread toasted and spread with jam and salty butter all morning would have been an absolute treat. We lingered through to almost lunchtime – we’ll go again and it would be great if the breakfast was served longer at the weekend. For weekdays, they have free wifi too….
I lived around the corner from Fifteen when it first opened and Jamie Oliver started spreading his mission about getting ‘hard to reach’ young people into professional kitchens and training them to be fully qualified. It’s hard to believe that that was ten years ago. Now the empire spans Cornwall and Amsterdam too. Jamie’s passion for cooking, and equally food education is legendary. Recipease is another part of his mission.
Uyen and I went down to take a knife skills class (apparently the most popular class they run at the Clapham Junction location). The rather brilliant Annegrete, a professional chef who used to work at Fifteen, put us through our paces for the two hour class. This was after having a good mosey around the very well curated selection of homewares and merchandise in the shop – you really could drop serious cash here. The classes are reasonably priced – £30 for ours including cooking our own lunch, and a glass of wine thrown in, plus you get 10% off in the shop afterwards.
What were the most important things I took away from the class? Well, apart from how to prepare prawns properly which was a bit of a bonus, there was the following:
- how to properly and efficiently sharpen knives – dull equals dangerous
- move the hands and the blade, keep the food steady
- make sure the food is stable and set in place
- place a damp kitchen towel under your board to keep it stable
- how to rock chop, tap chop and cross chop safely (no slap chop necessary here thank you)
Some on Twitter asked how basic the class was. Well, the skills are basic but I think a lot of us who consider ourselves competent in the kitchen are probably not as fast or indeed as efficient as we could be in terms of knife skills. We all thought we’d progressed pretty far during the class and then Annegrete proudly told we’d done well, and with six months’ practice, we’d be great. Gulp.
Being able to cook is such a fundamental life skill but where do most of us pick up the basics? Well, probably at home, if we’re lucky, or we pick up things from books, blogs and TV. I did suffer through a couple of years of home economics in secondary school but I can guarantee they never let us near anything useful like knives. In Jamie’s Dream School currently showing on Channel 4, he seems to be doing his own, more useful take on home ec – i.e. here’s how to chop properly – so that you can cook a meal that’s faster and cheaper than a take away. That’s real home economics to me. Bless Jamie. Long may his mission continue. (Watch his chopping demo here)
The Trattoria at Fifteen London is open for breakfast and brunch 7:30am to 11:00am Monday to Saturday, and 8:00am to 11:00am Sunday.
Recipease, Clapham Junction, Battersea, 48-50 St Johns Road, SW11 1PR
Thank you to the fabulous Hannah Norris at Nourish and the crew at Recipease for inviting me.
What could be better than having Mark Hix expound personally on why he recommends Clarence Court eggs at a select tasting in the private dining room at Hix Soho? Better than doing a blind comparison of three egg brands via steaming plates of creamy scrambled and perfectly presented boiled eggs? Better than the eggselent* three course eggy menu that was served up to us afterwards?
The answer is “Taking home 2 doz eggs in an Orla Kiely goodie bag”. BRING IT ON.
Mark Hix talked to us about why he’s a Clarence Court Ambassador (partly the vivid yellow colour of the egg yolks – as he said, you eat with your eyes too), chattered about the modern art (all of the art in the restaurant was specially commissioned) and we had Tonnix wine to drink (a collaboration between him and Mitch Tonks, conceived over a lunch at their mutual Portuguese wine merchant, label designed by their mate Tracey Emin) and tried different a trio of egg dishes. I loved the posset which surprised me – usually not a fan of that type of dessert.
I’m already a fan of Clarence Court’s Burford Browns, and as it happened we’d just shopped so I was looking at a fridge containing 36 eggs. It’s not that big a fridge. First off, a luxurious Saturday breakfast of boiled duck egg and sourdough toast. (if only we’d had truffles too we could have tried to recreate our favourite Tristan Welch starter at Launceston Place) After 5:40 mins precisely as mandated by Delia, they were little pools of yolky sunshine and my only complaint was I hadn’t been offered two of them. The chef pointed out that they’re bigger than chicken eggs. I tried to nick some of his and had to make do with purloining toast.
I’d contemplated making quail scotch eggs but on an evening when I knew I had to use up 500g of mince, the boyf had an inspired idea: thanks to his flicking through Nigella’s “Kitchen“, we ended up with Meatloaf.
Rather than the chicken eggs which she naturally suggests, I used one duck egg to bind it all admirably and nestled 10 hardboiled quail eggs into the centre of the meat. It works a treat as every slice has a reasonable allocation of egg throughout.
Finally I decided to attempt my grandmother’s custard to finish the eggs – I reckoned it would be the perfect accompaniment to something else in the fridge – the Heston from Waitrose Hidden Orange Pudding. I’d been thrilled when Waitrose sent me one and then hesitated to open it. My Dad *loves* Christmas pudding and I knew I’d be very popular if I brought it home.
Like “home”, home.
To Ireland, for Christmas. That was a month away at that stage.
Boo. Then Helen kindly said she had lots left over in her fridge and gave me some, and I get to be awarded the “Best Daughter” prize. Win!!
I have to admit, I really liked the pud. Mainly because it smelled just like the one my Mum makes, so it was going to be a winner, though Mum’s pud has certainly never strayed anywhere near an orange, and it’s honestly nothing like a Sussex Pond Pudding (one of my colleagues pointed out that that was where the inspiration probably came from) but I like the whole nuts and the sweetness – it was rather less stodgy than Christmas pud can regrettably be. Famously, it sold out and there wouldn’t be any more on offer as they take too long to mature. That makes feel almost churlish saying how well it went with proper egg custard, made with one of the last Burford Browns.
- 1 Burford Brown egg yolk, at room temperature.
- 10 g sugar
- 100ml whole milk
- 1 vanilla pod or vanilla essence to taste
- Mix the milk and sugar in a saucepan
- Put the vanilla seeds or essence into the mixture to infuse and then bring it slowly to the boil
- Beat the egg yolk
- Slowly pour the hot mixture over the egg yolk , beating constantly so the yolk doesn’t curdle
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly while heating gently until it coats the back of the spoon.
Now it’s on to a dry January, and a vast stacked of Post-It’d book marks. Lots of new recipes to try this year.
Imagine being a small or artisan food producer – possibly a family firm, making a product you believe in, to what’s probably a tried and tested recipe. Something you’re passionate about and believe in, and want to be able to focus on perfecting.
Or a committed foodie, a consummate party-thrower, someone for whom “fun” is inviting thirty strangers over to your house three times a week and producing dish after dish of marvellous morsels to an unknown audience.
Simon Day created Unearthed Foods as a way to not only showcase but to distribute fantastic regional continental foods in the UK. With links into major retailers, they can get great exposure for smaller brands and allow the manufacturers to concentrate on production. Importantly, they also operate a robust supply chain so that the logistics make sense and they can import goods from a number of different locations in Europe efficiently. That makes more goods affordable for the consumer here too, and helps support the company’s aim of introducing regional specialties to this market. I guess that, technically, coordinated shipping reduces the carbon footprint too?
Fernandez and Leluu are long-time favourites of mine and they were a great pairing with Unearthed. Simon Fcame up with some fantastic combinations, using Unearthed products along with original dishes – sweetcorn soup with chorizo oil drizzle above. The first course included unctuous rillettes from Le Mans, not unlike the ones I had when I spent time in that city as a teenager. Nothing you could have told me as a seventeen year old would have convinced me that a couple of decades later I’d be wolfing them down, I loathed them then. But paired with oyster mushrooms cooked in wine and butter, and they were unbelievably moreish. This was probably my favourite course of the evening – or was it the pears poached in champagne and vanilla? The broken rice was damn good too. As were the flamenquines. We were also treated to Campo Viejo wines and both the Rioja and the cava went down really well.
There was such a buzzy crowd, the chatter was so loud we were on the verge of yodelling at each other, while cooing over each successive course as it appeared before us. Conversation and consumption aside, there was actually a more important reason for us all to be gathered together.
Action Against Hunger. They’ve moved on from their ‘Fight Hunger Eat Out‘ campaign in September and October to focus on ‘Fight Hunger Eat In’. You see where they’re going with this. I’ve had many fabulous meals in supperclubs for a donation of about £35. That’s roughly the amount of money that’s required to treat a child for malnutrition which is pretty sobering. Providing tools for a family costs around £20 (and if you donate online and are a UK taxpayer, boost your donation with Gift Aid). Unearthed will donate 1p from all sales, and they’re aiming to support a project in Zambia for grandparent-headed families, where parents have died (mainly due to AIDS) and the children are now the responsibility of elderly relatives who may be unable to work or support them.
Check out Fernandez and Leluu’s great tips on entertaining, stock up on Unearthed tapas if you don’t want to cook and get some friends around. Cook for them and ask them to make a donation to the charity as ‘payment’. If you’re allergic to kitchens perhaps consider buying the charity lunch – donating the same amount as your next restaurant meal. It really is all in a good cause.
Thanks to Fernandez and Leluu, Unearthed, and Wildcard.
We spent a week in New York last month and naturally went armed with a list of foodie must-do places. Some of the places exceeded the hype and others were grave disappointments (suggesting we possibly place too much value on eating). More to come later from the boy, but here are my top finds from this trip.
Part of the trip was spent exploring Brooklyn with our lovely friend Sarah, who’s been there all summer. We ordered a trio of meals to swap and share at Rosewater in Brooklyn – lamb burger, pancakes with peaches, pistachios and cardamom, and the best sandwich I’ve ever had.
Lightly griddled bread, packed with layers of tender brisket, aioli-dressed salad and the ultimate punch came from slices of juicy marinated pepper. Even though the pancakes were great (and lord knows I’m a huge fan of the fluffy American breakfast treat) I was remarkably reticent about handing over the second half of the sandwich when the time came to trade. Rosewater does a great prix-fixe brunch – $14 including a drink. When is this magical institution of proper weekend leisurely lunching going to establish itself in London?
After very disappointing cupcakes from- oh, just about everywhere we tried, I was starting to despair a little. And contemplating about ordering some Bittersweet Bakers or Ella’s Bakehouse goodies for our return (they’re my favourite London bakers by far) to make up.
Then we made the pedestrian pilgrimage to Baked. Deep in Red Hook, it’s the artisan bakery established by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. We shared three cupcakes: Peanut Butter, Red Hook Red Hot and their signature Sweet Salty, beloved by Martha. God, they were good. I’d have to say that the chocolate chip cookies and homemade marshmallows were even better. When I saw them serving the marshmallows in their hot chocolate, I even started to wonder if we could stay long enough til I could fit a cup in. Amazon just delivered both their books too. Will be thoroughly road-testing them soon.
359 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, New York 11231
We stumbled across the Mac Bar and despite a planned trip to Lombardi’s later, we couldn’t resist it. We also couldn’t resist the regular size, $9.50, because… oh yes. Yes, it does. It comes in an undoubtedly environmentally unsound bright yellow plastic container in the shape of a macaroni elbow. The “Cheeseburger” option comes with ground beef, American cheese, and cheddar. The weather had shifted that day into squally showers and this was perfect comfort food.
54 Prince St, (between Mulberry St & Lafayette St), New York, NY 10012
Yes. I am on a diet post-holiday. Thanks to lovely Sarah for schlepping us around, she’s an excellent tour guide.
You might remember the Evening Standard’s Water on Tap campaign from a few years ago. Their bugbear was that restaurants habitually made you feel rather inferior if you dared to answer the traditional ‘still or sparkling’ with a tentative ‘Tap?’
As much for the rationale that the ice-cubes in your mineral water were made from the Thames anyway, as to assert our freedom to stand up snotty sommeliers, I went along with the campaign. Though mainly to slake thirst, and often a bottle of mineral water would be ordered too. Water is water, water is good, get two litres in somehow, right? But it rather sat in the background, as it in the photo above. I didn’t really consider the impact of what was in the water glass on the food that I was ordering, or how it might factor into the whole dining experience. Then I met Andreas Larsson.
S.Pellegrino are probably best known for their eponymous mineral water rather than for their non-carbonated Acqua Panna plus more recently they sponsored the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Andreas, World Sommelier 2007, works with them amongst other clients, as a taster and consultant. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a man who loves his job. And why wouldn’t he? Andreas is affable and obviously thrives on communicating and teaching about his passions – food, wine and taste. I suppose his services are increasingly required as we move through rolling stages of what he calls ‘gastronomic refinement’ – when a food and its market moves from being niche or undiscovered and graduates to encompass increasing levels of speciality, as has happened with coffee and olive oil in the past, for example.
Feeling a touch self-conscious, we set about tasting and comparing tap water, both S.Pellegrino waters and red wine, white wine, champagne and port. We tried canapés, garlic prawns, rare beef and pastry desserts. Though I guess we wouldn’t have been invited along if there wasn’t a story to tell, it turned out to be fascinating. We started with champagne – so a mouthful of bubbly, chased with Acqua Panna which is described as ‘smooth’ or ‘velvety’. The light fruity and citrus flavours of the champagne still lingered. Another sip and we brought out the S.Pellegrino. In direct contrast to the still, it acted like a palate refresher and all traces of the champagne disappeared. And the tap water? Well, in the context it didn’t fare well. Overwhelmingly chemical and it had to be chased away with mineral water.
We moved on to harmonising with food. Essentially Andreas would suggest that you consider your water order as carefully as your wine – why spend time and money on a special bottle only to wash away the tastes with a heavily carbonated water, or one that doesn’t stand up to robust flavours? As a very general guide, pick a (gently) carbonated water to live up to reds and red meat, and don’t drown your Chablis and seabream. Again it was interesting to see how the beef and a burgundy benefitted from the S.Pellegrino while the Acqua Panna was very soft in comparison.
All in all, it was an intriguing experiment. I can’t promise to always live to Andreas’s standards, I’ll certainly try to consider water choices when eating out in future. It’s all part of the ongoing food education – and it was a delightful afternoon.
We were tucked away upstairs in Hush for the session, and thanks to Jo and Sarah at Grayling for organising.
At the beginning of brunch at the InterContinental London Park Lane yesterday, someone from the hotel asked me if I’d ever been there before. A Park Lane hotel? No, not recently and not without a corporate event to attend. I imagine many London-dwellers are the same – generally when we want to go out to eat or drink, we don’t think of hotel restaurants or bars as a first option. Those lovely Qype people folks arranged for a small group of people to go to the Cookbook Café and find out precise what they have to offer, and to see if we should reconsider.
One of the massive benefits of going to a venue with Qype, apart from the company, is that you get the best service imaginable, lots of attention and often special access – in our case, Paul Bates, the executive chef joined us for brunch and talked us through the menu. The vast, bottomless bellini’d menu. That’s right, folks. Choose from five different type of nectar then add Crémant de Bourgogne, swirled together in a champagne flute til the cows come home. Or til 4:00pm, I suppose, when the brunch finishes.
You start off with the Market Table – a buffet which starts with a bread selection and cold meats, and homemade piccalilli and chutney. Then it explodes into more lunch-like salads (vast bowls of chickpeas, greek salad), fruit salad. There are pastries, juices and coffee of course too. Round to the other side of the table and it’s filled with local cheeses and sashimi.
:: Tuna Tataki ::
:: Lucious pepper salad ::
:: Seasonal preserves ::
While the group made a trip – or two – to the buffet, Paul chatted to all of us about the inspiration behind the menus and the cafe itself. As the name suggests, it’s inspired by cookery books and at first they used to faithfully reproduce dishes from the books that are on sale around the room. Nowadays they occasionally use some of the recipes for inspiration, especially when catering for events but create the menus themselves. On sunny day like yesterday, it felt bright and airy in there – well, air-conditioned of course. We were sitting up at the rear of the room, almost on a mezzanine level which would be great to book out for a big group. The diners were a mixture of a sloaney young crowd who looked to have been staying at the hotel, possibly for a wedding, couples, tables of ladies who appeared to be there specifically for the food and who were making numerous visits to the buffets. Can’t blame them.
:: Eggs Benedict ::
If you fancy something hot along with the Market Table, you can move on to the Full Breakfast option. Eggs any way, hash browns, bacon and sausages, potato cakes or a freshly baked waffle. Go for the waffle. Also available on the À la Carte, we shared plates of these and the American-style pancakes. The maltyness, the light crispy texture, and the plethora of toppings (chocolate sauce, maple syrup, that instrument of the devil that is clotted cream, fresh compote, waxy pistachios) made it my favourite part of the menu. Ok, of that part of the menu.
Sticking with the more traditional brunch items, we also ordered the eggs benedict and most of tried the Corn and Scallion pancakes with wild rocket and scrambled eggs, both very good with sunshine yellow yolks spilling out of the eggs which are sourced from Berkshire. Reducing food miles is a concern for the hotel – as Paul reasonably pointed out, food that is procured locally costs less, is fresher and is seasonal.
On to the lunch dishes. Yes, that’s right. We were only halfway through.
:: Pinkly perfect lamb and implausibly creamy mash ::
:: Gently spiced Monkfish ::
:: Courgette tart ::
I never would have guessed that I’d choose the vegetarian option as by far my favourite of these choices. Sweet roasted vegetables and buttery pastry. It even surpassed the lamb and duck-fat roasted potatoes for me.
To finish, we felt it obligatory to try the desserts trolley (that makes it sound insubstantial, or a chore – it wasn’t.) Ok, I admit it, I saved space. Here’s the plate I liberated (to share, honest).
:: Desserts selection ::
Clockwiseish from top left: Nutmeg creme brulee, hazelnut brownie, chocolate torte topped with praline and nuts, baked cheesecake, champagne mousse with raspberry jelly, Bakewell tart. I particularly loved the cheesecake, it was creamy without being claggy, and utterly moreish.
We finally, reluctantly left the table – though we’d dined for almost three hours, and moved off for a tour of the kitchens (photos on Flickr) exiting through Theo Randall’s restaurant. You can see some of the spirits in his backlit bar above – it’s somewhere I’d certainly like to come back and visit. It was named Italian Restaurant of the Year 2008 in the London Restaurant Awards and I’ll also be looking out for his book Pasta, coming from Ebury in June. We visited the 7th floor club and then said our final goodbyes before dispersing gradually back into the sunshine for the rest of the afternoon.
Yes, it was a treat but our experience yesterday made me reconsider looking into what London’s top hotels have to offer. The brunch at the Cookbook Café offers bewildering amounts of choice, with literally something to suit everyone. Take a group, get everyone to plump for the £39 Bubbles and Brunch option and linger for a Bloody Mary or Bellini fuelled catch-up session.
Thanks to TikiChris, Qype and the lovely Esther, Charles and of course Paul at the InterContinental
Happily, it seems to me like Fernandez & Leluu has been around for ages – probably because we were lucky enough to first discover it back in November and have been back many times, including one of the best New Year’s Eves I’ve ever had. But they’re mere babes when you compare them to Jim Haynes, a seasoned supper club host with thirty-five years’ experience. I was thrilled when After Eight and Qype invited us to share an evening of dining, drinking and story-telling at one of our favourite east London (or anywhere) dining spots.
Not a typical supper club evening, in that it was buffet style rather than seated. The After Eight mixologist in the corner was an excellent touch too, with four cocktails on offer. No wonder I liked them all, as most were made with Tanqueray and I’m much better with that than vodka. The Bramble was tart, the Spring Collins was the choice of the night, the Rose Club one was surprisingly alcoholic (Niamh got the name of the liqueur which she thought would be perfect for bellinis, raspberry and rose I think) and the After Eight Alexander was creamy, minty, chocolatey, laced with cognac: I don’t usually like cream-based drinks but it was wonderful. The barman was rather pleased with that because he wanted to keep the flavour of the chocolate itself, which he managed admirably.
Oh – the food? Prawns in a lime-citrus mayonnaise, a slab of dense terrine, springy fresh summer rolls, delicately fried spring rolls, crunchy chicken salad for starters. Followed by perfectly cooked beef carpaccio, Uyen’s homemade foccaccia, mashed potato in potato skins, and marinated mushrooms that I would have sold my soul for. Bread and Butter pudding – more like a crumbly little gingery scone – with Summer Fruits. I bet you’d like to see a photo of that… um, yeah. It seems I mainly captured the guests. So here’s some we ate earlier (ok, last year):
This time at Simon and Uyen’s it was as much about the company as the food, and listening to Jim explain how he’d initially opened his Parisien home to friends, then randoms, for over three decades (a house guest wanted to say thank you for his hospitality, and so volunteered to cook for a group of his friends: now it happens weekly, they accept 60 or more guests each Sunday depending on whether the garden space can be used and it’s a guest chef as often as Jim himself). We were all intent on inviting ourselves even before he (possibly maybe – not really) invited us all over to stay with him – yaaaay, I’m packing the bag and booking the Eurostar this evening!
He’s a natural raconteur with a genuine interest in people which helps to explain why he’s continued on with this for so long – and this is something he shares with Uyen and Simon. Anyone who’s game enough to open their home to strangers on a monthly or even weekly basis not only has a passion for cooking but a great curiosity about life and fellow man. Or is very, very brave. Either way I’m so glad, as supper clubs have provided some of my favourite meals over the past year.
What’s so exciting about underground restaurants, as much as the food, is being thrown together at a table with people you might never meet otherwise. That could be risky, but to be fair we’ve only been to one supper club, elsewhere, with a ‘rogue diner’ who was rather painful, and demanding. Though that can happen at anyone’s dinner party once the wine is flowing, or at any restaurant for that matter. The pay-off is benefitting from fantastic hospitality – Uyen and Simon excel at this – with imaginative menus and the freshest ingredients. We ate, drank and chattered until rather too late on a schoolnight Tuesday. Of course we finished as the After Eights were being passed around (a stalwart of childhood Christmas times. As proven the other night, the correct way to eat them is to daintily nibble off a corner, and then post the rest of it into your mouth like a Lego man into a VHS player). We stumbled home very happily (him: the cocktails, me: uncomfortable shoes). Roll on the next night!
Thanks to Fernandez and Leluu, Qype, and Jo Seymour Taylor/After Eight
Is the bottomless coffee on the menu yet?
We went along to the soft launch of Hawksmoor’s brunch a couple of weeks ago. The menu’s initial launch was eagerly greeted around here because it affords the 9-5/M-F crowd the opportunity to try the much lauded burger, supposedly one of the best in London.
We went for the shared breakfast that day instead. What arrived was the mountain of carniverous delights that you see above. Bacon chop. Ginger Pig special recipe Sausages. Black Pudding. Fried Eggs. Field Mushrooms. Tomatoes. Short Rib Bubble and Squeak. Marrow. Dripping Toast. Some green stuff as a token and Onion Marrow gravy on the side.
:: Marmalade Martini, Bottomless Bloody Mary #10 mix, rehydration OJ ::
I was feeling slightly delicate after a late night and so the marrow might have been a step too far. Curiously I’d just been reading Julie Powell‘s description of her cooking Julia Child’s Bifteck Saute Bercy where she describes marrow sauce as ‘rich, meaty intense, in a nearly too-much way…it tasted like really good sex’ (her italics) For me it was a step too far that particular morning, or probably would have worked in a sauce. However overall the meat was perfectly cooked and the Trotter Baked Beans – homemade beans with pulled pork were soft and slightly piquant – fabulous. Next visit, I’d happily have those on dripping toast alone. I coveted the Staub Cocotte horribly too.
:: Trotter Baked Beans ::
:: Shaky Pete behind the bar ::
The bar has quite the Manhattan feel but it’s resolutely British in attitude- as they have pointed out, the word brunch originated here. We gave them feedback as requested: interesting to see that the Full English is now available as a single portion and not just for two. Will clarified that you can request the eggs in that dish to be cooked any way you’d like, and we put in our plea for bottomless coffee too. Tea is more their priority. I loved how their drinks menu focusses on gin rather than vodka, a refreshing change and the Marmalade Martini was eye-openingly sharp but welcome in the context of such a hearty meal.
The staff are super-sweet and delightfully proud and invested in the restaurant. I think the way to do the Hawksmoor brunch is at the start of a big weekend, to set yourself right up, probably with a group. And possibly just go for the big one: the Hawksmoor burger for breakfast.
Hawksmoor, 157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ
020 7247 7392