Brunch, as we all know, is the most important meal of the week. So if you haven’t already, lay down that greasy spoon and brunch like the British invented it (which, in fact, we did in the 1800s). For those chasing the hair of the dog that bit off as much as it could chew, it’s time to get adventurous. Let’s face it, both the Mimosa and the Buck Fizz (in case you were wondering about the difference, a Mimosa is half sparkling wine, half orange juice, while the Buck Fizz is two-thirds orange juice) are painfully dull. And classic Bloody Marys, though brilliant, can get a little tiring.
Balthazar: London’s version of New York’s famed French brasserie serves brunch from 10am to 4pm (I’m no fan of regulating restaurants, but I would sign a petition to shut down any restaurant that stops serving brunch before 2pm). Wash down your Eggs Benedict with an Umami Red Snapper, which is a Bloody Mary made with gin, though this one is special because Brian Silva – a stalwart of many of London’s best bars – came up with it. If this Red Snapper hits the spot – or even if it doesn’t – pioneering bartender Rich Woods over at Duck & Waffle serves a marvellous one too.
Village East: Bermondsey’s Village East mixes a variation on a classic with the Beetroot Mary. You can choose between a Stolichnaya vodka or Beefeater gin base, and it’s a refreshing alternative to a Bloody Mary. This gets extra points for being my favourite cocktail made with an ingredient – beetroot – that repulses me to my very core. If you actually like beetroot and live within stumbling distance from Bermondsey, this is probably just the sort of cocktail you want with brunch.
El Patron: For something a little different – and markedly unpretentious – head to Putney’s El Patron. A cool £25 will get you dips and tortillas, build your own breakfast burritos, churros and unlimited Margaritas for two hours. Just bear in mind the difference between “drink as much as you want” and “drink as much as you can”. One other thing: thanks to the tequila-based Margaritas , this isn’t the best option for anyone who spent the previous night partaking in that timeless, tedious habit of licking a line of salt, shooting tequila and sucking on a lime.