Once again, I’m terribly behind on posting Brunch Club reviews on this blog! I went to check I had everything I needed to share our festive outing with you all, then realised I hadn’t even shared last month’s yet! Brunch Club eleven took place on Sunday 19th November 2017 at Foxlow Clerkenwell, 69-73 St John Street, London EC1M 4AN. Their brunch menu has classics and big breakfasts served until midday, and a handful of other tasty sounding options served until 3pm.
Ed: I started, as I always do, with a nice pot of tea. It was pleasant if a little small (although this helped in terms of space for everything else on the table, it’s a balancing act!)
Eleanor: I was early for the first time in forever, they let Ed and sit in and I had a flat white which was lovely.
Lou: I grabbed one of Foxlow’s ‘RAF English Breakfast’ teas, and it was so delicious I downed the (admittedly small) pot’s worth of tea really quickly. Foxlow serve loose tea in a proper ceramic pot, and it was just lovely, although the milk was a little on the stingy side.
Lori: I was 15 mins late, but the gang knew my order so there was a soya latte and a fresh orange juice waiting for me when I arrived. Neither were particularly fantastic though, sadly.
WHAT WE HAD
Ed: I went for the Vegetarian Big Breakfast (v peckish after getting a little lost in Clerkenwell en route). What a delicious mix, a bit of an unconventional spin on the traditional fry up, with white beans in a lovely herby sauce. Though it was billed, no tomato appeared which I only just realised having looked at the menu again. The hash brown was more like a big potato cake, but lovely all the same. For brunch pudding I had the seasonal sundae, which happened to be a lovely peanut butter ice cream, with nuts, caramel sauce, mashed up banana and bacon. Naturally, I asked for them to hold the bacon! It was a delicious treat.
Eleanor: Waffle croissant two ways! A croissant, cooked in a waffle-maker. I started with the waffle with fried chicken, egg with sausage gravy and maple syrup. Oh, it was good. The fried chicken was spicy and crispy and tender, with the egg/gravy/syrup/waffle combo it was delicious. I had an orange juice to accompany. Croissant waffle way the second was with apple compote, yoghurt and honey. Again, delicious. Piled high with apple, it was wonderful. I rounded off the meal with a Foxlow Mule cocktail (it was bargain fiver) which allowed conversation to flow a little longer.
Lou: I went for the short rib on jalapeno corn bread, as I fancied being a little unconventional. The dish was ok, a little on the small side, and whilst the egg was cooked perfectly and the corn bread had a good sweet-heat, it wasn’t a brilliant dish. For pudding for I went for a sticky toffee pudding which was really delicious – the sponge was light, the toffee sauce rich and the whipped cream silky smooth.
Lori: I went for the shortrib on jalapeno cornbread, with cheese and a fried egg. The cornbread was pleasantly fiery rather than overpoweringly so (I’m not a fan of strong spice, so this may mean it is too mild for some), the shortrib wasn’t especially memorable though. I went for something off the dessert menu for my ‘brunch pudding’ – malt chocolate pannacotta, minus the chocolate cookie crumble due to the wheat. I think my opinion on the food could be best summed up via the shrug emoji. I finished off with a tasty mojito though.
Ed: We were all excited, was it possible… could it BE?!
Eleanor: DOUBLE WAFFLES! Appropriate for Brunch Club the Eleventh. Though, as Lori mentioned in the last review, I feel we should retire this category as our brunches are varied and it’s not always about waffles…
Lou: The waffle croissant made me think of a trend in the US of making waffles out of Krispy Kreme donuts!
Lori: Waffle croissant tho!
WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?
Ed: How Clerkenwell is a bit of a funny place, research and PhDs, loads of other topics, I feel like Sasha Velour is a standing discussion topic for every meeting…!
Eleanor: Pronunciations. Psychology of veganism/vegetarianism. Future brunches. Lord of the Rings and future possible TV series (C’mon Michael Schur-esque sitcom set in Hobbiton!). Afternoon Tea. It felt like there was a lot to chat about.
Lou: It felt like a proper catch up, and we really dotted all over the place – so lovely to catch up for the first time in what felt like forever!
Lori: I feel like it might be easier to list what we *didn’t* chat about this time!
SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS
Ed: Great service from the beginning and definitely a sense that we could be there for a longer brunch without being urged to move on. Lots of babies about, but not particularly loud. Great atmosphere. Only thing I really liked about the Toilets was the posters in the cubicle, one particularly caught my eye: “PACKED WITH THRILLS AND ADVENTURE: A collection of lighting equipment dating from 600BC to Present Time. See Flowers that blaze in darkness! The Tiniest and Second Largest Bulb ever made!”
Eleanor: Our waitress was lovely! Atmosphere was casual, lots of small babies in the restaurant. There was an excellent playlist on but not too loudly to interfere with conversation. Toilets were sadly gendered even though they were individual cubicles.
Lou: I really enjoyed the service and the atmosphere of Foxlow. The lighting was a little on the low side though, and walking out into the bright sunshine made me realise it had been quite dark in there! On toilets, I wasn’t especially impressed. There was an accessible loo on the ground floor which was good as the toilets were down a steep and narrow flight of stairs.
Lori: Great service (despite the fact we had at least one awkward question every time we ordered something!) and a nice relaxed atmosphere. A bit too dark to snap good food pics, despite the fantastic sunny weather outside, and disappointingly gendered individual loos.
Ed: Lovely walk through Clerkenwell, via the Church from the end of Four Weddings and a Funeral (which we then had to watch in the week) Sadly I was subjected to an accidental sip of a regular Latte due to cafe getting my order wrong!
Eleanor: Gorgeous walk to Bank via St Barts and Postman’s Park in the autumnal sunshine, then home for the rest of the day.
Lou: Eleanor was such a fun tour guide, and it was great being out in the sun – it was even nicer to grab a chai latte on the way to the station to keep my hands warm (sorry your service was so poor Ed!)
Lori: After our lovely and informative post-brunch walk (thanks to Eleanor for being our tour guide!), I headed home and then went out again early evening to see that rather brilliant Thor Ragnarok.
Ed: Great for a local brunch if you’re heading on to somewhere nearby, I wouldn’t say it was a destination brunch, however.
Eleanor: Lovely. A great place for a nice brunch if you’re in the area. All round delicious, but not particularly outstanding in any area. Good value and great service.
Lou: Great value on food and drink, with warm service – we weren’t rushed and I didn’t feel crammed into the space, but the food definitely lacked the ‘wow’ factor.
Lori: Pleasant enough, but nothing worth recommending based on the food I had.
The image of Foxlow at the top of this post is from Hg2. 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.