Brunch Club’s most recent adventure (I think we’ve stopped numbering them now, as there have been a lot!) took place on Sunday 22nd July 2018 in hot sunny central London, at Christopher’s, 18 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7DD. After an attempt to plan brunch in Walthamstow with mixed results (not everyone could make it, so no review there), our July trip was planned to the next highest ranking restaurant on our list of potential brunch options. The brunch menu at Christopher’s has a lot of delicious sounding options, so this promised to be a luxurious treat in the hot weather.
Ed: Even though it was VERY WARM I still went for an English breakfast tea. The tea itself was a really lovely and tasty blend. A pleasant surprise!
Eleanor: I was running super late so ordered ahead and had a Vitamin C smoothie (orange, lime, pink grapefruit and banana) waiting for me – super refreshing and topped up with ice, it last me a good while. And lots of cool water!
Lou: Tea! The English Breakfast was strong without being over-brewed, and served loose leaf – each pot contained a good couple of cups too!
Lori: As Ed said, despite the unusually warm weather, Brunch Club just wouldn’t be Brunch Club without our usual caffeinated beverage so I ordered a soya latte, plus an orange juice. Both were excellent – the juice was very fresh and topped up with some much needed ice.
WHAT WE HAD
Ed: I had the Huevos California, which was a crispy tortilla, with alternating rays of salsa and guacamole with fried eggs in the middle. It was a really delicious dish, it felt like it was a complete dish in itself, not just a meat dish that they’d taken the meat away from to make it vegetarian. Really impressive. For the brunch pudding, how could I resist the lure of the pancakes, especially given that we had a card and a pencil to pick what we wanted! I had buttermilk pancakes with nutella and vanilla ice cream. Really delicious, fluffy pancakes. Very filling as well. One regret, I should have stolen that pencil!
Eleanor: For main I had sweetcorn and zucchini hotcakes with roasted tomatoes, spinach, red pepper and black bean salsa and a poached egg. It was pretty good. For pudding, I went for the brioche french toast with mascarpone and roasted peach. Also good. Both were solid dishes but lacking a certain pizazz or burst of flavour – missing a touch of seasoning on the hotcakes, and the french toast needed something to cut through the sweetness of brioche, mascarpone and peach. My apple and raspberry martini was utterly delicious.
Lou: I really wanted the Eggs Benedict following a friends’ recommendation and I wasn’t disappointed – the hollandaise was generous and tasty and the eggs were beautifully poached and the ham delicious – I asked for monterey jack cheese to be added and and this provided a really ‘oomph’ to the dish in terms of texture and flavour – I literally inhaled the eggs and would definitely recommend. For ‘brunch pudding’ I did the ‘build your own pancakes’ – buttermilk, with berries, honeycomb ice cream and lashings of maple syrup. Literally the only thing I could possibly complain about is how there wasn’t quite enough ice cream for my taste – two scoops next time, please!
Lori: I was so mesmerised by the Build Your Own Pancake menu, that I hardly looked at the savoury options on the main menu. I went for buckwheat pancakes with maple-cured bacon and maple syrup. Not terribly photogenic (nothing made with buckwheat ever is), but extremely tasty and there was just enough syrup for all three pancakes too. For ‘brunch pudding’, I went for the (dairy-free and vegan) coconut and almond milk panna cotta with lavender poached pears. It was a beautiful dish, decorated with edible flowers, and the subtle flavours and light texture were a perfect end to my meal. I also treated myself to a strawberry basil martini which was delicious!
WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?
Ed: Lots of chat about Drag Race, YouTube and life updates.
Eleanor: Lots of Drag Race chat, my current temp role, the future of Drag Race.
Lou: The TanaCon debacle, why kids shouldn’t organise events, and the Shane Dawson ‘documentary’ about it on YouTube – oh and the forthcoming trip to see Bianca Del Rio.
Lori: I described the Build Your Own Pancake menu, with its pencil to tick which options you’d like, as “the perfect combination of brunch and admin” which raised a laugh.
SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS
Ed: What can I say?! I was reminded of the brilliant service we had at Modern Pantry. Like MP, this place was quite fancy, but I never felt looked down upon or under dressed (something I was worried about being in a t-shirt and shorts!) All the staff put us at ease and were brilliant, Jan, our main server was especially great, bringing us glasses full of ice cubes to keep us cool on such a warm day! One toilet quirk in the mens was a lighting fixture that was right in the middle of the mirror above the sink, meaning you couldn’t actually see yourself. I tried not to take it personally.
Eleanor: Our server, Jan, was lovely and provided excellent service – never rushing but attentive and friendly. With a busy Sunday brunch, it became quite hard hearing each other – the acoustics of the room meant the chatter from other tables was very loud and we took a break in conversation to eat in order as talking was difficult enough! The toilets weren’t sign-posted and the cubicles were surprisingly small.
Lou: As Eleanor says, Jan’s service was stand out, and a real highlight of the visit – we felt special without being fussed over – some of the best service I’ve received. It’s worth noting that Christopher’s is in a listed building (possibly an ex-bank?) with the dining room up a spiral staircase with no lift access.
Lori: Great service (thanks Jan!), and a lovely atmosphere. The tables were very close together though and it did become difficult to hear with all the other noisy diners chatting away around us. We were sat in the smaller room near the top of the stairs, so perhaps the main room would be less echo-y?
Ed: Straight back home to Muswell Hill, met up with husband while he was doing the food shop and we went back and sat in the dark all afternoon!
Eleanor: On the boat with Lori and Lou home and then a gentle evening at home to prepare for the forthcoming week!
Lou: Post-boat I went and did a food shop and then flomped on my bed sleeping off the pancakes.
Lori: After the very long boat trip home (much slower than usual!), I went to Street Feast at Public in Woolwich and met with more friends for drinks and dinner, before heading to The Taproom for some evening beers.
Ed: I thought this was really special. The food was of a great standard, the tea was very good indeed and I had delicious pancakes. I agree with my other Brunch Clubbers that the acoustics in the room were not great and I also had a minor scuffle with some diners behind me who kindly shoved me with their chair (and didn’t apologise) but these things are sort of to be expected from historic buildings in central locations like this. The quality of the food and service overshadowed any negative points for me. I will definitely be going back.
Eleanor: When I first walked in I thought this was going to be a favourite, especially having browsed the menu beforehand. With the frustrating atmospheric noise (I couldn’t even hear the background music) it became a real let-down as chatting with my fellow brunch clubber is always the highlight of our meetings. My food was good, but not great. Service was wonderful and the cocktail was great. I wanted to love this one (build your own pancakes!) but was kinda disappointed.
Lou: I loved this brunch! On a hot and sunny day the dining room was cool, and although the acoustics weren’t amazing (best suited to larger groups or just one-to-one dining, perhaps), the service was great and the food fab. I was impressed by the range of veggie options and there were event some vegan options too. I would definitely go back.
Lori: Despite the noisy dining room, I loved Christopher’s. Fantastic food and excellent service. Would definitely return to check out more of the delicious sounding options on their menu.
The image of Christopher’s at the top of this post is via Breakfast London. 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.