When L’Escargot announced Bottomless Sunday Brunch, Nick wasn’t slow to try it out.
I’ve always been a bit dubious about All You Can Eat offers; I remember what happened to Homer Simpson when he tried to Eat All He Could at the sea captain’s restaurant. A court case and general embarrassment.
But the news that a restaurant as trustworthy as the 100 year old L’Escargot was about to open on Sundays for the first time in decades, and serve an all day, all you can eat brunch, was interesting enough to have me forgoing my Sunday lie in.
L’Escargot is of course that clichÃƒÂ© of restaurant writing, an institution, but in this case it genuinely is. A place that has entertained the great and the good with its classic French cooking since 1927, especially you’ll be unsurprised to learn, with the cooking of snails.
In the 1980s it was ruled by Elena Salvoni and as a young adman I was occasionally treated to long lunches there by directors looking to influence my choice of who would get to film my next commercial. Happy daze.
Revisiting I could tell that changes had been made by the new owners (since 2014) in the decor but the place still felt the same; a Georgian townhouse that warmly welcomes bohemians, hearties and business folk alike. We felt like old friends of the family when we walked in, a display of classic and increasingly rare attention to customers
On a Sunday business types were unsurprisingly absent, their places filled by frisky young men and some of their more elderly counterparts. Together with couples, people reading Sunday papers and a young girl aiming a monstrous dSLR at her Eggs Benedict, it was an atmosphere congenial and raffish and entirely suited to Sunday, so we felt comfortable straightaway.
The brunch menu is full of good things to eat, I was stricken by indecision then remembered I could have it all, my ambition limited only by my capacity. We headed for the buffet where we loaded up on smoked salmon, Comte cheese, Brie de Meaux and a devilled egg. There were pastries and cakes and fruity, healthy, salady options and Neat Juicery LDN’s cold press juices, too.
Crepes, omelettes of all sorts and all cooked to order plus a range of classic egg breakfast dishes and either a Full English or Full French (avec boudin noir, mon brave) all waved at me like sirens on a rock. Eat me and die happy.
They serve escargots, for brunch, even on a Sunday. Well we had to have those and they arrived piping hot with the aroma of garlic bringing those people with hangovers back to life like reanimated zombies. Plump, tasty, buttery and delicious, the only thing to do was after eating such snails was to mop up the sauce with lots of baguette. Gorgeous.
On the menu is also roast beef, along with other substantial post midday dishes such as salmon en croute, classy burger and croque monsieur. Not all on the same plate you understand, but of course you could do that if you wanted. #bottomlessbrunch, remember.
P succumbed to the generous roast while I kept it brunchy with two poached eggs on toast, some bacon and avocado. The eggs were perfect examples of how to poach properly, little white balls that opened to reveal luscious golden perfectly cooked yolks. The bread was fine quality and the bacon crispy. Sadly the avocado leant just a bit too much on the firm side, which was a shame as bacon and avocado are always a great team.
The roast was well done overall with well-crispy spuds, but the meat verged on the too rare, P commented sadly as she eventually gave up her Woman v Food struggle with a small sigh. She then rallied and went off the buffet for a made to order a crepe with fresh fruits while I downed a double espresso to wake myself out of my food coma.
Three hours had passed very quickly and pleasantly and the afternoon was winding down as we negotiated Chinatown to get to the tube. The L’Escargot brunch had been remarkably enjoyable, the food was fine and the atmosphere, location and wonderful old school caring staff who do everything just right. Recommended.
All dogs are invited, and will be offered their own water, food and chew toys.
The brunch at L’Escargot runs between 11am and 4pm. Call 020 7439 7474 for all reservations.
The price is £25 per person. Drinks not included