Quaglino’s Q Brunches
Tucked away in the backstreets of Mayfair, Quaglino’s brings a slice of style and sophistication to London’s bustling brunch scene with its Q Brunch. Featuring live music, optional bottomless prosecco and a delicious menu of contemporary brasserie style dishes and brunch favourites, Quaglino’s Q Brunch is an elegant and entertaining addition to Saturday brunch. Guests can enjoy a spectacular selection of dishes, from brunch classics such as Eggs Florentine or Buttermilk Pancakes, to Jersey Oysters followed by Pan Roast Gilthead Sea Bream. The Q Brunch offers a two or three course menu, with the additional option of unlimited prosecco. They have live entertainment and DJs in this decadent setting. They also host themed brunches like last month’s exceptionally glamorous 1920s Gatsby Brunch, with a live electro Swing band performing classic tunes from the era.
Quaglino’s couldn’t be a better setting for a roaring 20s brunch, with its grand Art Deco staircase and ballroom proportions, perfectly turned-out wait staff, mirrored walls, marble-topped centre bar and red-curtained stage, it looked like a film set right out of The Great Gatsby.
The food was fantastic, we started with the Quaglino’s Cockail – of lobster, prawns, Devon crab, avocado, mango and cucumber salsa, which was so good we followed up with the Native Lobster Thermidor, served with pomme frites and a token side salad. Prosecco or Moet is served alongside, with regular and attentive top-ups. Both courses were amazing, but the Quaglino’s Cockail is eponymous for a reason, and possibly gives The Goring’s Eggs Drumkilbo a run for its money!
The only downside was the reception staff. Having lost the record of our booking, I was aggressively shouted at on the phone (the chap thought I was a different customer on hold from another call, which in itself isn’t great (!) but didn’t apologise when he realised I wasn’t). When we arrived we were told they couldn’t seat us – having made the effort to arrive in 20s regalia, and then, after making me wait a full half an hour at reception, insinuated that I’d fabricated our booking. And what, gone to the lengths of writing and backdating a fraudulent confirmation email to forward them?!
I was eventually told to buy myself a drink at the upstairs bar while they figured it out, and wasn’t offered an apology when they finally conceded I was in fact, meant to be there. All in all, insulting and badly handled.
The wait staff were however lovely, the Art Deco interiors, music, food and drinks all sublime, and, bar an initial hiccup with the upstairs reception team, the whole experience was brilliant. Highly recommended!
Q Brunch – two courses £30, three courses £35, with additional supplements for some dishes, and the option of free-flowing sparkling wine for £23/person. Speciality brunches like the Gatsby themed one we attended, slightly more.
Bluebird White City Bottomless Brunch
Right next to Soho House at the front of the old Television Centre lies Bluebird White City.
Having just launched a new brunch every Saturday and Sunday, West London Living thought they’d see what it’s made of! There are nods to Bluebird King’s Road, with a token maroon iron girder teeming with plants, and a similar colour scheme. But Bluebird White City is stylish in its own right, and doesn’t feel as much a little sister, as a slightly cooler, quieter cousin.
The whole place is photogenic, and it’s a good size, large enough to feel airy, but compact enough to people watch across the floor.
I started with Beetroot Cured Scottish Salmon, which came with dill mayo and pickled cucumber, and was unreasonably fresh and tasty. While my friend had the Crispy Fried Squid, with jalapeno aiolo and lime – also fantastic.
I followed up with the Chicken Caesar Salad, generously portioned with fantastic Caesar sauce, and my guest went for the Sunday Roast, which I have on good authority was delicious. I may have stolen an unfeasibly crispy and tasty roast potato or two, and perhaps a scrap of perfectly fluffy Yorkshire pudding.
We both went for the Chocolate Bluebird for pudding – a blue 50s race car, which excited me a great deal. Its interiors weren’t as described – I believe we’d been given the old menu by mistake – but the one on their current menu – the chocolate and praline mousse with raspberry sorbet – is to die for. And I don’t, as a rule, get excited by puddings.
The prosecco served alongside was on the right side of dry, attentively replenished, and complemented the food, and atmosphere, brilliantly.
Wait staff were intuitive, smiley and unobtrusive, food came quickly and we didn’t feel rushed. Hands down one of the best brunches I’ve had. Bluebird’s brunch menu covers everything from eggs, crumpets, poke, truffle pasta, burgers and even the Sunday roast all paired with either bottomless prosecco or red wine. If you want.
Two courses £15, three courses £20 (with additional supplements for some dishes), with an option of bottomless prosecco alongside for just £14.5 per person
Balans Soho Society Brunch
Whilst not strictly bottomless – the menu doesn’t have a set bottomless option – the cocktails are so good we thought we’d include it.
The brunch menu is fairly diverse – we went for the High Society Lobster Benedict, £17, – perfectly poached eggs, slightly flabby bacon, with decent hollandaise served on English muffins with a lobster claw on the side. We also tried the Pancakes with Berries, £8, not at all bad, but a little on the sweet side for me, the Smoked Mozzarella and Bolognese Arancini Balls, £8, low on rice, which I preferred, and, finally, the Manchego and Serrano Ham Croquettes, £8, which were okay in themselves, but tarnished slightly by the sickly Spanish Paprika Aioli they were drizzled in.
The cocktails, £9.5, however, were on point. Having had rather a late one the night before, I kicked things off with a Bloody Mary, before advancing on to the far more amazing Kentucky Smash – a blend of Buffalo trace bourbon, fig, honey and lime. Honestly one of the best cocktails I’ve had.
My guest also had a Kentucky Smash, followed by a Pommy Tommy – El Jimador tequila, Pama, lime, and agave, then the Spiced cinnamon and Buffalo Trace Bourbon Toddy, which was delicious, if a little lukewarm.
Balans is brand new to Ealing, and located in the rather smarter and newly regenerated Dickens Yard. While the décor is a little more canteen than their other sites, and the vast and sprawling glass-walled room feels less intimate and conspiratorial than their other restaurants, bringing the quintessential Soho experience to W5 is a Very Good Thing. As is the Kentucky Smash.