Now when I say brunch I don’t really mean it in the sense that you and I would think of brunch – a meal that falls between breakfast and lunch. Nope, this special treat takes place at your usual lunch time but can last, well, all of the afternoon really.
I first discovered brunch when I visited a friend in Abu Dhabi. In UAE, it seems that brunch is more about some kind of all you can eat and drink heaven, with tables upon tables of tasty treats from around the world. There’s almost everything that you can think of in there, from canapés to curries to lobster. I thought that such decadence was reserved for UAE, but when I recently discovered that a buffet style brunch had made it to Paris, I decided there must be somewhere in London that offered the same thing. And there is, namely at the Intercontinental Hotel’s Cookbook Cafe in Mayfair where you can enjoy a delicious (and stupendously filling) London brunch buffet.
The Cookbook Cafe’s brunch offerings boasts an endless supply of of traditional brunch favourites. There are fresh eggs, cooked to your preference in front of your very eyes – you can have omelettes, scrambled, eggs benedict / royale…or all of the above.
Then your chef can promptly turn his hand to whip you up waffles and pancakes, which you can smother with syrups, cream, fruit and pastries.
You can then follow your breakfast style fodder with a tapas main; market tables at the centre of the restaurant are piled high with breads, meats, fish, salads, and tasty nibbles.
Once you’ve whet your appetite for main madness, you can sample some hot taster dishes. Ours included salmon, quinoa cakes and a delicious duck dish.
Just when you think you can’t possibly eat anymore your eye catches the dessert table; plate after plate of delicious sweet fancies. There’s brûlées, macaroons, cakes, trifles…and some token fruit.
All of this is punctuated with unlimited Bellini’s, Prosecco, tea and coffee throughout.
It’s not a meal, it’s an experience. And we were there ‘experiencing’ this indulgent fayre for over three hours.
I am starting to feel full (and a little bit tipsy) just thinking about it, but it is worth every second and penny (and at £53 per person on a Saturday and £59 on a Sunday, it’s almost worth it just for London Prosecco prices, if you can drink quickly enough…).
The food is fresh, delicious and locally sourced.
The staff were not quite as attentive as their UAE counterparts (who whipped any plates or debris away the second you left the table) but you feel completely looked after.
Brunch is definitely the new afternoon tea for those that want a little more savoury than sweet, but don’t want to sacrifice their share of cake.
If you can recommend any other brunch buffets in the UK, please do drop a comment below…I am keen to sample more! And if you haven’t tried it already, treat yourself to a Cookbook Cafe brunch. It’s the ultimate treat.