Food plays a starring role in all of my social interactions these days. Whether it’s organising a gossip session with my girlfriends or planning a romantic date with my sweetheart, my thoughts will instantly turn to what meal the occasion should revolve around. I’ve even started ranking London’s plethora of museums and galleries based on the standard of their dining facilities (the V & A currently tops the list, thanks to its outstanding selection of baked goodies).
Whilst I’m never one to turn down the offer of a nice cuppa tea and slice of cake, my first preference for combining feasting and friendship will always be brunch. Maybe it’s because I normally restrict my breakfast intake to healthy fruit and oats, but feel justified in pushing the boat out when I’m technically merging two meals into one. Maybe it’s because I recognise that most people aren’t as bouncy as I am at the crack of dawn and would probably appreciate a lie-in. Maybe it’s just because I like the word. Whatever the reason for my love of br[eakfast / l]unch, I’ve made it my mission to munch my way around my new hometown with my nearest and dearest.
The starting point on the tour of Time Out's 50 best London brunch spots was The Breakfast Club in uber-cool Spitalfields, and I’d recruited two fellow bloggers and brunch experts to join me on my expedition. But the author of Peanut Butter and J only agreed to come along on one condition – I was banned from ordering the American-style pancakes. Reluctantly I accepted the terms of her offer, but this left me feeling somewhat panicked…what should I eat instead?! The consistency of the pancake is usually my acid test for judging a cafe’s overall appeal. As a delicacy that I’m still struggling to perfect in my own kitchen, a fluffy pancake is a serious vote-winner in my eyes – with extra brownie points if they’ve also managed to successfully dot berries or banana slices through the batter.
Dragged out of my comfort zone, I was torn on what to order from The Breakfast Club's colossal brunch menu. Should I go for the classy option of smoked salmon and choose Eggs Royale, go wild and try the weird and wonderful French toast topped with bacon and banana, or tuck into a traditional grease-fest of a full English with all the fatty extras? When the moment of truth arrived, I opted for the healthy-sounding mix of mashed avocado and chilli served on crusty multigrain bread, topped with a runny poached egg and a couple of cheeky smoked bacon rashers. The smooth and creamy avocado contrasted brilliantly with the salty bacon and crisp loaf, and my “Pommy Granny” blend of pomegranate, blueberries, raspberries, apple and ginger was the perfect midday pick-me-up.
Having branched out from my standard brunch choice, I caught myself lusting after every tempting dish that sped past us, and loved the idea that the wide array of fresh juices could be ordered by the jug for easy sharing. We all agreed that with the famous Spitalfields market just round the corner, a visit to The Breakfast Club was the best way for us cash-strapped fashionistas to prepare ourselves for an afternoon’s bargain hunting. The Breakfast Club’s delightful dishes and chilled-out atmosphere have definitely secured its place in the next round of brunch trials, meaning another visit is necessary…and next time I might even allow myself a portion of pancakes with vanilla cream!