What: In the week that not only saw the temperature rise to heatwave levels, but also The Ned open its seventeenth bar, that’s right seventeenth, I went to escape the sun and check out the new brunch at Kaia, The Ned’s Asian -Pacific restaurant.
New? Whilst it might not be as new as the Library Bar that has just opened the brunch has just recently launched.
The Setting: Going to The City at the weekend is rather like when you had to stay late at school and you’d wander down the long, empty corridors realising just how they were rather like the start of a horror film when they weren’t packed with the noise of a hundred teenagers. The canteen would be closed, and the common room would just seem a bit limp and you’d wonder why you’re there. There is one spot in The City though that doesn’t stop come the weekend and that’s The Ned.
The Look: Flanked by a long bar lined with lamps, the restaurant blends into the overall feel of The Ned with the imposing dark green columns, dome light fixtures and large arched windows. Take a seat at one of the little tables or pull a pew at the open kitchen.
On the Menu: The menu is split into eggs, sushi rolls, poke bowls, robata grill dishes and puddings. Classic brunch ingredients are given the Kaia twist, so asparagus is served with scrambled eggs and a honey dressing and Clarence Court eggs are accompanied by okonomiyaki bacon – which a take on the Japanese okonomiyaki pancake.
What We Ate: We started with the breakfast bao. For £5 you’re presented with two fluffy, plump bao buns stuffed with golden scrambled egg and crispy bacon. Don’t expect to eat them in a dignified manner, with only chopsticks to help you’re just going to have to pick it up and get stuck in. They ticked the box, the bao slightly sticky, the bacon crisp and salty and the scrambled egg just the right side of overdone.
The salmon poké bowl was filled with sticky rice, chunks of raw salmon, sweet mango cleverly cut into a rose, nori and salmon caviar. Denser and more substantial than many poke bowls I’ve had before, it just needed something a little lighter to cut through the sweetness of the mango and provide a hit of freshness.
From the robata grill there was the teriyaki salmon was beautifully flaky with a dark soy topping and plenty of pickled ginger to give it a kick.
For pudding I couldn’t get enough of the roasted pineapple, with coconut sorbet and the salty-sweetness of miso caramel. For chocolate fans there’s a chocolate tart with tangy kumquat, which also happens to be one of my favourite words. Just so satisfying to say. Kumquat.
What We Drank: We kept things simple and stuck with prosecco, but for those looking for cocktails you’ll find the likes of the Matcha espresso, the Miso Colada and the Jasmine Sour.
Go With: If you’re looking for a little variety to your weekly brunch trip then I highly recommend Kaia.
Where: The Ned, 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ www.thened.com
Final Word: Not up in time for brunch? Every Saturday they serve a Japanese afternoon tea between 2pm and 5pm which includes rice cream with azuki beans and orange; a chocolate roulade with sesame ganache and a strawberry yuzu choux with strawberry cream and yuzu curd.