by Mike Fairbrass - Monday August 7, 2017 5:08 pm
The Vincent. 2 Atkins Square, Dalston Lane, London E8 1FN
Mike finds a top bottomless brunch.
“That’s London”, the lovely Jayne agrees from under their shared umbrella. We are scurrying towards The Vincent, a newish venue (opened in May) already of some repute. A summer shower has caught the Hackney massive off guard as people in shorts dash for shelter and we duck inside.
The large tapering space is festooned with a rainforest of plants almost filling the void to its generous double height ceiling. The friendly staff show us to wooden booth seating and we slide in preparing to brunch.
Jayne decides on the Vincent breakfast but guiltily admits she doesn’t feel that hungry as she did have some breakfast before the rest of us surfaced (she can't wait as she’s the type who would expire by 11am if she didn’t eat).
I know what I’m going for in an instant having seen the words ‘pork’ and ‘hash’ in the same sentence. We both know H will be more indecisive so we discuss the indie guitar background music; we’ve both heard it on 6 Music but neither of us know what it is as we’re too old.
“Have you got that Shazam thing?” I ask H, but she just looks at me like I’m an idiot as nobody uses that app anymore. Coffees and fresh orange juices are delivered before she finally settles on the waffle with buttermilk fried chicken, bacon and maple syrup.
Jayne’s plate is quite a fusion: Poached eggs, avocado, roasted tomato and mushrooms, chipotle baked beans, veggie hash, padron peppers and toast (you can add merguez sausages and/or bacon too if feeling meaty).
It’s awakened her hunger and she’s tucking in. “So it’s a full English meets Mexico - a full Brexican?” I muse and H rolls her eyes. I try a Padron Pepper and revisit my old story of the T-shirt I got in Spain showing a graphic of their distinctive shape and English text boldly announcing: Some are spicy! - Another's don't!
My Hash arrives to shut me up. The pork is delicious, almost melted. It’s got plenty of punchy chorizo discs and cubes of salty smoked bacon in amongst the sautéed waxy spuds, crispy sliced peppers, onions and fresh watercress. Two oozy poached eggs top it off, coating everything in runny yolk sauce when punctured - proper brunch.
I ask H to describe hers; “It's all good” she says. I ask her if she can use more descriptive words. “All of it is good.” She insists, I wait. She sighs at the effort of it. “It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.” She means the waffle, I wait for more. “Okay - It’s the best fried chicken ever. And waffle. And bacon.”
She meant what she said then: It's all good. ‘I’m not hungry’ Jayne has already finished which is weird as she’s usually the last one chewing. She says hers was delicious - full English combined with spiciness being the perfect hangover food (not that she has one).
I talk to the owner Jamie; five years ago they took the nearby Sebright Arms from a boarded up pub awaiting demolition to a thriving hub of live music and craft beer and they now want The Vincent to be a great local cafe restaurant, doing the simple things well. If the brunch is anything to go by their evening buns (burgers) and bowls menu with craft ales or cocktails will be great too.
H can’t quite finish but can't give up. “It's like coma food” I’m fairly sure that’s another complement. Not wanting to leave it, she wraps the last bit of chicken and square of waffle in a napkin as a canapé for later. The sun is pouring through the glass now and we sit relaxed and replete like cats on a window sill.
As we ready to go I ask them if there were any negative points about our experience but the only thing we can think of is that the booth bench would benefit from a cushion. Or maybe the best idea is to just stay here and eat their bottomless brunch until you have so much bottom it becomes one.