New? Nope Mark Hix has been the director of food at Brown’s Hotel for several years now and as for the hotel itself, well that takes the title as the oldest hotel in London, having been founded in 1837. The bottomless brunch, however, has only been on offer since April.
Where? Brown’s Hotel, 33 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4BP, www.hixrestaurants.co.uk
On the menu: A decadent, indulgent brunch made up of British seasonal classics, including the likes of Albemarle smoked salmon ‘Hix cure’ with scrambled Burford Brown eggs; kedgeree; eggs benedict; roast gammon steak and a Peruvian gold chocolate mousse. As it’s a bottomless brunch you can choose between bottomless Bloody Mary’s and cocktails or for £5 more it’s bottomless Champagne.
First Impressions: When we arrived they were still cleaning the restaurant – sweeping the floor with industrial sized mops. Granted not that much of an issue and the restaurant was relatively quiet for the first twenty minutes, but still when you’re trying to catch up with your friends and then a giant mop appears between your feet looking for crumbs it doesn’t set the best atmosphere.
The Look: The restaurant is spacious and tables are placed strategically so that wherever you sit you can watch people watch – because isn’t that part of the experience? High ceilings and sash windows fill the room with light, but wooden panelled walls, wooden flooring and dark jewelled coloured chairs give the room a warm feel. Above the fireplace the neon words ‘I loved you more than I can love’ (a piece by Tracey Emin) grabs your attention, but the whole restaurant is adorned with artwork – there are works by Rankin, Bridget Riley and Peter Peri.
What We Ate: I started with a perfect steak tartare, just enough of a spicy kick and topped with a golden yolk, it was wonderfully good, whilst my friend opted for the signature – the Albermarle smoked salmon ‘Hix cure’ with a generous portion of creamy, fluffy scrambled Burford Brown eggs. The British favourite of ham, egg and chips was given the Hix touch with Peter Hannan’s gammon steak served with a fried Braddock White duck’s egg and thin, crispy chips. Arriving I was adamant that I would have kedgeree, that’s what wanted that’s what I’d have, but the waiter suggested I tried the sugar pit beef and cheese toastie instead- so I took his recommendation. I’m still thinking about that kedgeree I should have ordered. That’s not to say that the toastie was bad, but it was just a rather bland – the beef was a little tough and without much flavour. It was served with parsnip crisps, but being quite heavy I think something fresh, even just some green leaves would have worked better to cut through the melted cheese and brighten up the dish. To finish was a gloriously indulgent Peruvian gold chocolate mousse and a lighter polenta and olive oil cake with a good scoop of crème fraiche.
What We Drank: We made the most of the Champagne and the staff were very attentive always making sure our glass was full.
Go With: Starting at £50 this isn’t the sort of brunch that you make your regular (if it is well done to you), instead make it for your birthday, when your parents come to stay or you just want to treat yo’self.
Final Word: The bottomless brunch is only available from 12pm -4pm Saturday and it is very much bottomless – you’ll either want to continue the party after, or do as we did and had a very lazy Saturday nap to sleep it all off.