Brunch Club: Bill’s
After our April gathering, we had quite a gap before the next Brunch Club date in our diaries (well, apart from Ed’s wedding!), so the idea for Brunch Club v7.5 was conceived. It cleverly involved us all visiting different branches of the same chain, however, it took so long to fully realise that plan that Brunch Club 8 had been and gone before this post was finished! Anyway, better late than never, right? Let us take you back in time a few months to explore the delights of the breakfast menu at Bill’s.
DATE AND LOCATION
Lori: Soho, 25th May 2017 (with my colleague, Holly)
Lou: Greenwich, 8th June 2017 (election distraction!)
Eleanor: Greenwich, 4th August 2017 (with my friend, Katherine)
Ed: Muswell Hill, 13th May 2017 (with husband to be, Rupert)
Lori: We met early, so I absolutely had to go for a soya latte for a caffeine hit!
Lou: I opted for English Breakfast tea. Bill’s serve their tea in generous pots, with two teabags per pot.
Eleanor: I had a flat white which was decisively non-flat-white-y. It a latte, but quite bitter so I add sugar and it was drinkable.
Ed: Unsurprisingly I opted for the Breakfast tea. Lou was right the teapots were very generous indeed and looked like old army surplus teapots, going along with the “industrial-meets-shabby-chic-feel” (quote from their website!) Good blend of their own Bill’s branded tea.
WHAT WE HAD
Lori: When I arrived, Holly had kindly already asked for the ‘avoiding gluten’ menu for me. I went for scrambled eggs on toast, with streaky bacon. It was very nice and probably the right amount of food for me that early in the morning (we met at 8.30am!), but I have to admit to being rather jealous of Holly’s avocado on toast, which looked much more filling! I also had a watermelon, peach and raspberry juice which was utterly delicious.
Lou: I had a short stack of three pancakes with bacon. The bacon was really good – hot, crispy, not greasy, not dry, and a good salty flavour. The pancakes were ok, a touch ‘claggy’, either a touch underdone or just not very fluffy. That being said, the pancakes were tasty! I was a bit disappointed that the dish came with the maple syrup slathered on already, as I v much enjoy pouring my own, bit there was a generous amount and the accompanying maple butter was really really yummy. I followed that up with a pot of Earl Grey. (No two course brunch! Shock!)
Eleanor: I had the Bill’s breakfast with the potato rosti on the side. The bacon was streaky and crispy so the complete opposite of my taste. The two sausages were small but tasty with a paprika seasoning which went really well with the fried egg. The rosti was disappointing – a lump of fried mashed potato with some bits in it. I had some lovely fresh OJ to finish. Katherine has the baked eggs, beans and sausage which came in a bowl and was spicy and tasty, she polished off two cappuccinos but is yet to deliver her opinion!
Ed: I went for Bill’s vegetarian breakfast, what a lovely treat! Two poached eggs, two generous slices of bread, one spread with tomato hummus, the other with guacamole. Fried tomatoes and fried mushrooms on the side and sweet chilli sauce as a base to the dish. I was very impressed that the veggie dish had its own identity, it wasn’t just the “normal” breakfast with substitutions for the meat products. Very pleased! It was also really delicious. Rupert had the regular breakfast and was very excited by the tiny chipolatas! For Brunch pud we shared a plate of banana, strawberry and blueberry pancakes (stack of five). They were delicious, but perhaps a bit too foamy. There was potentially a little too little fruit about on top as well, so by the time we got to the second layer, the maple syrup was running low and fruit had almost gone as well, which made them a bit spongy and dry, they were nice though and the portion was too much even for two hungry chaps to share.
Lori: I don’t think Bill’s do waffles, sadly.
Lou: No waffles at all on the menu, but pancakes are offered with fruit and cream as well as the bacon option I had.
Eleanor: None 🙁
Ed: I do miss having brunch waffles! Hopefully next place we go to has them!
WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?
Lori: Holly and I had a general catch up. It was nice to talk about non-work stuff for a change.
Lou: I went on my own, which was really interesting – I loved the people watching, and also finished my book.
Eleanor: Katherine is an old work friend, but we talked about mattresses, festivals, my new job, failure and the old work place.
Ed: We had a lot of general stuff to talk through, as we were in the middle of organising the wedding, spent a long time people watching as well.
SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS
Lori: Brewer Street in Soho is quite lovely on a sunny morning, and this central branch of Bill’s is pleasant and welcoming. We didn’t feel crammed in, despite the place being quite busy by the time we left, and we had good efficient service from lovely friendly staff. I didn’t go to the loo so can’t report back about the toilets.
Lou: The Bill’s in Greenwich is on a street corner, and most of the walls are windowed. The place is light and bright, with decent sized tables. But the layout of the restaurant is difficult if you’re a wheelchair user, and there’s no accessible toilet. The main loos are upstairs and are well lit and easy to find. As I went on a Thursday morning, the restaurant was very quiet, so staff were super attentive and service was quick. I am not sure it would be quite so pleasant on a weekend…
Eleanor: We were literally the only people eating in Bill’s on a Friday morning! The service was efficient and unobtrusive.
Ed: Bill’s in Muswell Hill is on a corner next to the Planet Organic, so it is Yummy Mummy Heaven. The actual restaurant is quite small and in a funny L-shape with an outside seating area as well. There’s practically no space to wait to be taken to your table and we ended up having to wait as a v. rude dad pushed in front of us to ask to buy lots of tins of olives (Another North London Olive Emergency!) When we got to our table, we were very comfortable. Service was very speedy indeed (even though it was a relatively busy Saturday morning) and our waitress was very lovely and chatty, to the point where we ended up talking about Brunch Club and I gave her the Brunch Club website url after she enquired after the badge. Loos were good and notionally gender neutral as there were three self-enclosed loos with sinks in the back corridor. V clean, and good hand soap on offer!
Lori: A short and sunny walk to work at Oxford Circus.
Lou: I popped to do some shopping and then get my summer dresses out of storage – I think I might be jinxing it!
Eleanor: Wandered home for a lazy day with my dog.
Ed: We got the bus down to Wood Green and spent lots of money in Tiger and Wilko on wedding decorations and supplies.
Lori: I’ll definitely be popping back to Bill’s for a tasty no-nonsense breakfast. Definitely a good location for my catch-up with Holly, who was delighted to have been an honorary Brunch Club ‘plus one’ for the day!
Lou: Oh no! I didn’t take a selfie! I was too wrapped up in The Night Circus!
Eleanor: I was actually a bit disappointed by this visit. The food was inconsistent in quality and the coffee wasn’t good. I do love the style and service in Bill’s but I don’t think I’ll be recommending it to anyone anymore.
Ed: We both really liked Bill’s. It was really good food, good service and the place had a relaxed atmosphere. We actually returned and had the same brunch again on the morning of our wedding (and we had the same friendly waitress!) Helped to steady our nerves!
The image of Bill’s in Greenwich at the top of this post is via the Bill’s website. All other images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food.