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London Brunch


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A friend of mine has the rather utopian plan of starting a regular monthly Sunday brunch meeting for a large and presumably changing group (to catch up, discuss literature, swap witticisms ... you can imagine the kind of thing). He's looking for somewhere in Central London (which to me means W1/WC/EC/some of SE1). I assume atmosphere and tolerance of large, potentially many-hour groups are as important as the food; certainly nowhere too formal or vastly expensive would be appropriate.

 

Having thought about this for a while, I don't really have any ideas; can anyone here help?

 

thanks

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Well I've been wracking (racking?) my brains for you, there are not many places that do brunch and those that do tend to be smallish...but why not try Flaneur Food Hall on Farringdon Road in EC1? I have never, at any time of day, seen more than a couple of tables occupied. Their prices (for restaurant food anyway) are not outrageous, certainly for the area. We, in the 'hood, gave them six months, max, but they seem to be hanging on somehow. Maybe they are a front for something. Anyway, they do brunch on weekends and I bet you could linger.

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Thanks for the suggestion. Being also in the 'hood, I've never eaten at Flaneur, but I do buy groceries there all the time. And let me share something with you -- more than once I've bought an item only to get it home and realise it's beyond its best-before date; and one time when I was after some butter, I looked on the shelves to discover that a serious proportion (nearly 50%?) of their various butters were out of date. I pointed this out and they did admittedly look mortified and begin taking it off, but still ... the only thing that puts me off eating there, especially the table windows, is having people like me constantly banging past you (not much space at the front), trying not to knock over the zillion bottles of apple juice, and giving you funny looks while they poke through the milk. But it's definitely worth a try.

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I've only bought cookies, cakes & breads there - and some jar/canned goods. And I admit to not having looked at the sell by dates at all. But with the huge quantity of stuff they have there, I have often wondered how they could possibly go through it? I'll bet the reason they looked mortified at having to take away the butter is that it ruins their studious display.

They are like the Benetton of food shops, the display looks wonderful and you get the feeling that if you move a jar out of place, once you leave someone will rush over and put it back so everything is symmetrical and the labels all face out.

Flaneur really has to decide what it wants to be when it grows up. I'm mystified as to how it stays in business. It is HUGE and must cost a mint to run, but I have never seen more than five people in there at once. Maybe they do a lot of catering?

The breads/cakes/cookies are very reasonably priced for the quality - as good as Maison Blanc which is the only other decent 'patisserie' I have found in London - Valerie and Richoux I find OK for eat-in but for take-away, I find their quality very uneven (the only Valerie that seems to have consistently good stuff is the one in Soho - Compton Road I think?) and mostly without flavor - i.e. a cake that looks really chocolatey and wonderful ends up tasting like sawdust, and their fruit mousse cakes taste like Gummi fruits.

But back to Flaneur, perhaps they will eventually do away with the retail shop and stick to the restaurant and fresh items...? Stay tuned.  And let me know how your friend gets on with the philosophy brunch idea, sounds like fun.

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Maggie - I think one of the nicer places to take lunch in London is in the bar at Pont de la Tour. Back in February I ate Sunday lunch there with my family and it was really good. The food is pretty much simple grills, plus there is the usual Conran raw bar. But the room is a great one with light streaming in, and a beautiful view of the river. And this time of year you can eat outside. Not sure if it fits in the budget but I recall it as not being very expensive. Better than being in some dark interior room on a nice Sunday. Also, if you are a rather large group (say 15-20), Kensington Place has a private room just behind the dining room that we have used for wine tastings. I'm sure for Sunday lunch you could cut quite a good deal with the restaurant for the use of the room along with a set menu.

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Flaneur: agree with your confusion about how they stay in business. It must be particularly difficult to shift enough product when the design mandates it be piled up to the (distant) ceiling. But here's hoping they think of something, and preferably keep selling groceries, as otherwise I'll have to walk 15 mins for organic milk in the morning.

Patisserie: I think Comptoir Gascon's few items are pretty good, and its viennoiserie pips the &Clarke's product at Flaneur, but it's closed on Sunday, which is fairly pointless if you sell croissants. Baker & Spice can be great; about to be booted out of its Knightsbridge home apparently, with a second, large branch bizarrely out in Queens Park. Used to rate Bagatelle in South Ken; not been there for ages.

Pont de la Tour/Kensinton Place -- thanks for the suggestions. I think we may be getting a bit upmarket considering the intended group (hacks 'n' such), but it's all good to know. To be honest, g/f Smiths would have done fine if it took bookings, or wasn't overflowing on weekend brunch with booze-absorbing clubbers. Having said which, I checked Flaneur's brunch prices today and to my surprise they were fairly comparable. Certainly like the idea of the KP private room  :smile: -- will find out more.

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Bit of a late thought but the ground floor at 190 Queensgate has a nice airy room for brunch which often is fairly empty but has a simple brunch menu.

The bar area next door has big leather sofas and all the newspapers  etc.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm looking for recommendations for relaxed Sunday brunch places (central or West London) with room for a party of 10. I'm tired of paying over the odds for mediocre, unimaginative gastropub food. Can anyone help me out with a suggestion?

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The Clerkenwell Dining Room on St John has just started doing Sunday Brunch at £19.50 for 3 courses. They have a new head chef there. Christophe Guerrard, who was Andrew Thompson's sous chef at L'escargot's Picasso Room and apparently one of the best chefs he has ever worked with. Thompson is still there and very much a hands-on exec chef.

Otherwise I've always enjoyed Gravy in Chiswick.

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How about Ma Cuisine in Twickenham. I tried to get in there the other day for Lunch but was too late, but it struck me as a wonderful place to spend a Sunday lunchtime with the kids. Food is very cheap (about £10 max for a main course) and the surroundings are very relaxed. You would have to check if they could accomodate a group of 10.

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I love the Sunday carvery at Owl and Pussycat but you have to want Very Informal. Kids are not a problem here they can run around as much as they like.

There is also a lovely place on the river in Chiswick called.... hang on, let me call my friend who lives near there, I can't remember. It's a wine bar that does very good food and probably has a wonderful Sunday Brunch.

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If you fancy something completely different why not try COTTONS,London's No.1 Caribbean restaurant, for Sunday brunch. They do an excellent buffet at £7.50 per head. Food includes Jerked Chicken, Caribbean style salmon, Curried Chicken, Salt Fish Fritters and many more Caribean style tasties. With their clientel normally paying £25 per head for a meal there, their Sunday lunch is definately a bargain...

Cottons 55 Chalk Farm road, Camden Town, NW1 :smile:

When I read about the evils of drinking rum...I stopped reading...because life is too short, so smile and enjoy yourself...

therumman@btinternet.com

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The name of the wine bar/bistro is Pisarro's. if anyone lives in Chiswick, this really is a lovely place with good food at a great price... just a little out of the way for us on the southeast side.

They have a white cat who will beg you for food.. :smile: which I like but my husband won't allow me to feed.

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I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for but Giraffe (with branches in Richmond and Chiswick) always does a creative and varied brunch menu. Its very kid-friendly (almost too much so at times) and quite informal.

Giraffe serves what they describe as 'world cuisine' which is fusion to you and me. We've always found it to be reliably good.

They also have branches in Hampstead, Marylebone and Islington.

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Try "hush" in Mayfair.  They have a Sunday brunch menu which includes a glass of champagne, and if the weather's still nice, you can sit out on the terrace.

Hush is an abomination, the boil on Satan's backside :raz:

Is that too harsh??? - no I didn't think so.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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go dim sum. it's as cheap as pants and completely delicious. Chuen Cheng Ku at the Leicester Square end of Wardour Street is great. the pork slithers are the best. (and, maybe someone can tell me what they're REALLY called - the rice noodle pancakes wrapped round barbecue pork or prawns, drizzled with oil and soy - squishy and slippy at the same time, hence 'slithers' in my parlance sorry for digression but would love to know real name!)

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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  • 2 weeks later...
go dim sum.  it's as cheap as pants and completely delicious.  Chuen Cheng Ku at the Leicester Square end of Wardour Street is great.  the pork slithers are the best.  (and, maybe someone can tell me what they're REALLY called - the rice noodle pancakes wrapped round barbecue pork or prawns, drizzled with oil and soy - squishy and slippy at the same time, hence 'slithers' in my parlance sorry for digression but would love to know real name!)

my family calls them "Cheong Fan" (kind of pronounced "chong fun" in english!)

or to be specific, the prawn version is "Har Cheong" and the pork is "cha siew cheong fan"

Great taste - I love them too! :raz:

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