9 months ago
Summers were made for Dalloway Terrace. The stunning al fresco restaurant at the back of The Bloomsbury Hotel, catch it on a sunny day and you have yourself one of the best dates in London.
As the name suggests, expect a terraced structure of tables on different levels, with either a fully exposed table or one under an awning. As part of hotel, the presentation is crisp and service impeccable. Don a white shift and some Ray Bans. Book in advance.
Brunch is where the place peaks. Start with a punchy brunch cocktail, either the Bloomsbury Set Bloody Mary (House mix, English vodka, fresh tomato juice) or the Morning Martini (Sipsmith Gin, triple sec, marmalade, lemon juice).
If you have a brunch date, don’t wreck yourself the night before. Wear something that channels sleek sophistication, don’t forget the shades and turn up ten minutes early. By the time your date arrives you’re nursing a cocktail and looking pretty slick. Stay for a couple of hours and then meander to Hoxton Hotel in Holborn to take coffee and chat on sofas for the rest of the afternoon.
Not easy to get the best sun spot without a booking well in advance.
1. Pure class.
4 years ago
Slick, polished and very white. Somehow, despite the clinical character, the eating room manages to be cosy and charming, a place to drag out brunch over a couple of hours and feel no pressure to up sticks anytime soon. The charming front of house staff set the tone for an elegant affair, handing you over to a waiter who, if you’re lucky, will throw in a free breakfast muffin as the lunch menu kicks in. This gesture is demonstrative of the general atmosphere at Nopi, European sophistication without the snobbery. Simply wonderful.
The sharing plate for lunch and dinner work out as satisfying but on the pricey side for something not massively filling. I’d recommend a Sunday brunch affair. Served till 1pm, they commit to calling it ‘breakfast’, a refreshing two fingers up to London’s obsession with the New York brunch. It is a concise menu that dresses up the classics beautifully; sausage and beans on toast becomes borlotti bean stew with chorizo and an ‘Italian’ egg. Scrambled eggs comes on focaccia and rice pudding is made with coconut milk. These portion sizes are just right, and keep in mind the richness of the food (unless hungover, your eyes will be bigger than your stomach). And the sparkling water was free, now that’s classy.
This is one of those dates that encourages you to have an early Saturday night, turn up bright and early in some sort of crisp cotton get-up and try your hardest to be engaging. It isn’t a boozy brunch, it’s the chance for them to picture you as a companion and an intellectual equal. When dates like this work they’re not boring, they’re the start of something wonderful.
It’s nothing like the new drinking brunches popping up around London, a level of sobriety is required. You can, however, ignore this advice and just be the inappropriate couple at the fancy restaurant; everyone needs a ‘how we met’ story with some impropriety after all.
0. If it already happened the night before, the likelihood is you’d be eating breakfast in bed right now. Make the most of this cerebral encounter, before you take it down a notch on the next date (which will almost definitely be at a shot bar).
5 years ago
The sister restaurant to Marylebone’s Providores, Kopapa is an all day restaurant specialising in breakfast and brunch. Whilst it is never acceptable to accompany a hangover feeding with a Stella, the moment you name the meal ‘brunch’ you are welcome to navigate your way through cocktail lists galore, pausing at vodka mixes en route to the champers. At Kopapa the vibe is West End polished canteen, in a place where you indulge every pernickety breakfast whim: poached not scrambled, wholewheat not sourdough, fried not grilled, hold the bacon. The presentation of the food is impeccable, the oversized white plates artistically adorned, perpetuating the notion that you are revitalising body and mind, despite chomping on crispy bacon, maple syrup and Perrier Jouet.
You can go really simple, or really exciting. A decent couple of poached eggs on brown bread with vegemite hits the spot; great quality ingredients and Delia-grade egg cooking. But for exciting, try the spiced banana French toast with orange blossom labneh, tamarind raisin relish, grilled bacon and orange vanilla syrup- a treat. Avoid the muesli though; with only a minute splodge of yogurt it is a dry old affair.
This is the preamble to a West End show or a early evening concert at Somerset House. Take it slow and stop at one cocktail (think controlled, think European). Before the show starts at 6pm you have time to walk the streets of Covent Garden, browse the shops and test drive what it feels like to be a couple. Get this right and they will have married you in their heads by the end of the night. [Warning: This may in fact be antithetical to your plan, in which case, RETREAT].
Drinks take a while to come, but the place has just opened and is finding its legs.
0. The necessary precursor to the nirvana of a real live relationship where the sex is on tap and the food is only a Dominos call away.
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