I mean, I love breakfast and I love lunch but the combining of the two at exactly that time of morning we all get peckish is pure genius.
The in-between nature of brunch makes rather gluttonous culinary concoctions seem completely commonplace – hello pancakes and bacon, and eating more than is acceptable at either of the two regular feasting times seem almost necessary – we’re combining two meals right? This particular case being the perfect example – a full English breakfast followed by blueberry pancakes? Hey, it’s brunch, it’s ok.
This, is exactly why I love brunch.
I always think it’s important to have things to look forward to in January. It can be a terribly dreary month and no-one likes leaving the comfort of their, cheese and chocolate filled, sofa dwelling, movie watching, Christmas existence to go back to work, back to reality and back to an existence that doesn’t include nearly as much chocolate and cheese. (If there is anyone out there who actually does enjoy this act – please divulge your secrets to the rest of us).
So, I made a point this January of booking a fun, slightly indulgent and enjoyable activity for us the first weekend we were back in London – a brunch date at No. 11 Pimlico Road.
Yes it was freezing cold, yes it was a struggle to get out of bed on a Sunday morning (especially the first Sunday after the festivities), yes it felt almost wrong to be putting real clothes that couldn’t pass for pyjamas on and yes I really should have started the detox by then, but it forced us up, out of the house and to a part of London we hadn’t ventured for a while. Good for the stomach and the soul.
Just around the corner from Sloane Square and a short walk from Victoria, No. 11 is in the heart of South West London and a perfect spot for a pit-stop should you find yourself on the tourist trail (but perhaps not wanting to eat at a typically touristy establishment). I have to admit it’s an area we rarely find ourselves in when it comes to eating out. It’s near neither home or work for either of us and I guess when you’re not visiting somewhere regularly you’re generally not aware of the haunts quite as much. But I guess that’s all part of the beauty of discovery when you do stumble across somewhere new. Visiting this part of town however, did reminded me just how much London has to offer, so much in fact that no matter how long I’ve lived here I never cease to be surprised.
Perched on the corner of Pimlico Road, No. 11 fits right in to its upmarket surroundings, a street full of swish interior stores and showrooms, and invites you in through stylish grey exteriors and large light windows.
Once inside you’re met with a large open plan dining area, light, airy and with just the right amount of lively buzz. Tall ceilings, long industrial lighting and exposed pipes give off a cool Manhattan vibe while patterned fabric chairs and a palette of grey’s and taupe’s suggest a chic Parisian patisserie. A long curved bar down one end of the room forms the central focus, with an array of different styles of tables, from long trestle to cosy two seaters and circular sharing stations, surrounding it. Cocktails are being tossed at the bar as we walk in (yup at 11am – turns out breakfast cocktails are quite the speciality at this abode), the smell of fresh coffee fills the air and despite the large size of the room, a warm ambiance is apparent.
We’re shown to a small table by the window, offered some cucumber water and left to peruse the extensive menu.
You’re not too confined by timings at No.11 with breakfast continuing up until 11.30am and brunch options available until 5pm alongside the main menu, so arriving at just after 11am made the decision making process that much harder. In the end we couldn’t decide and so we didn’t, instead ordering a mix of breakfast, brunch and lunch all in one. We both started with a full English, because hey it sounded like everything we needed to wake us up on a cold Sunday in January. I had a pot of spicy rooibos tea, GB a flat white, and we slowly revived our senses over some very finely cooked sausages, delicious eggs and the best sourdough bread I’ve ever had (I believe they soaked it in oil and grilled it – naughty but oh so good).
I’ll admit I was full to the brim after that epic Sunday brekkie, but as I’ve mentioned brunch dates do funny things to my willpower, and the lure of blueberry pancakes was too much. Besides brunch without pancakes isn’t really a brunch right? We switched our hot drinks for a cheeky breakfast cocktail (we were technically still on holiday mode) and shared an order of thick, fat, squishy pancakes (just the way I like them) packed full with bursting blueberries, smothered in maple syrup and topped with creme fraiche. It was pretty much my ideal way to end a brunch date.
As the tables started to fill up for lunch orders, and we started seeing that sourdough coming back out in club sandwich form, packed with chicken and tomatoes, we decided we better get out quick sharp before we spent all day in the place, and ate everything on the menu.
Although I’m bias for brunch, I reckon No. 11 Pimlico Road would be just the spot for any sort of food date, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s a great location to stumble into after a day of shopping, or start your day at before exploring London. The staff were friendly, the food was a really high standard for the price, and anywhere that celebrates drinking cocktails with your first meal of the day, has got to be worth a visit right?
And I’m still trying to master that sourdough…
No. 11 Pimlico Road (the name helps you a lot with location)