Oh Old Compton Brasserie, you had me at brunch!
If you know anything about London’s restaurant scene, you know their brunch game has to be hella strong in order to keep the punters coming back for more. I mean, seriously, every other day there seems to be a new brunch menu inviting brunch lovers in with their tempting bottomless bellini offerings or a mighty fine break-y style feast. And, I for one say, keep ’em blooming coming! As it was the last Saturday of the summer, I decided to hop on the Piccadilly line over to Leicester Square to try out the new brunch offering at Old Compton Brasserie, and boy, was I in for a treat!
Nuzzled in the heart of Soho on Old Compton Street, you’ll find this stylish brasserie, doing what Soho does best, serving up scrummy food and arty vibes. One notable feature about Old Compton Brasserie is the artwork. The brasserie tries to recapture the identity of ‘forgotten Soho’ with a mix of trendy artwork from local street artists, pop paintings of iconic celebs associated with the area like Twiggy and Kate Moss, and urbanised pieces celebrating the area’s history. I have to say my favourite piece was a small (friendly) skull head surrounded by a burst of multicolour, curated by Hayden Kays. His work is familiarly known for its use of bold imagery, accomplished craftsmanship, and deadpan humour, which this piece certainly has!
Another quirky added touch is that every six months Old Compton Brasserie feature bespoke art from varying local artists on the back of the menus.
The interiors very much follow suit with the artwork, giving for a super industrial vibe, taking inspiration from Soho’s swinging history. We’re talking exposed brick walls with graffiti-style artwork adorning the walls and industrial accents which are offset by the colour bursts from the seating booths and cushioned chairs. As you wander through the doors, your eyes are immediately met with the horseshoe bar and diner style seating, making it perfect for a quick cheeky cocktail or two.
As it was a sunny Saturday afternoon, it only felt right to make our visit a boozy one and dive straight into their bottomless cocktail offerings (they also offer bottomless Prosecco too!) There’s five devilish cocktail jugs to dive into; Riesling rumble, a blend of Rag and Bone Riesling, Aperol, grapefruit and Prosecco; smashed grapes blending Eristoff vodka, Vermouth, St Germain, grapes and Prosecco; bloody spicy Bloody Mary, a mix of Eristoff vodka, OCB spices, sriracha hot sauce, tomato juice and crispy bacon (mmm!); a big ol’ jug of Pimms; and spring in Soho, a delicate mix of Finlandia lime, Cointreau, 8 brio versus, rhubarb syrup and lemon. We opted for the latter and it gave us the zap of energy we needed on this sleepy Saturday. It was light, refreshing, and dangerously easy to drink!
The menu encompasses a fresh new take on British classics, with a wide range of veggie and vegan dishes too! As for our brunch dishes, my partner and I opted to share a couple of the vegan brunch options, which obviously meant we had to sample their trendy take on smashed avo! So first up we tried the ‘crushed green’, a blend of avocado and green pea mash, avocado tahini, mixed seeds and cherry tomato on toast. There’s option to add creamy feta cheese or a lightly poached egg on top, but we opted for a portion of the roasted field mushrooms and tossed them on top instead (a real treat!).
Let’s face it, the city is awash with your standard avocado toast which can be incredibly mediocre and bland if not seasoned or presented correctly, however, the Old Compton Street version was unlike the rest. Maybe it was the crushed green peas or the burst of flavour sliding through the avocado tahini, but it was certainly delish with a sharp zing of lime punching through.
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As a veggie, I’m always on the look out for a burger that’s got a bit of bite, and the pb burger at this brasserie has certainly raised the bar! The ‘meat’ was a juicy moving mountains patty, which I’ve had bad experience with in the past, so I was a little dubious but I was willing to give it another go, topped with shitake ‘bacon’, vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and avocado mayo, and served with some cheeky fries too. The patty was left moist and ‘bleeding’ with melty cheese leaking through. The shitake bacon was a little odd as I’m pretty certain it was just sliced shitake but added a nice meaty flavour no less. So I guess you could just call it a banging vegan cheese and bacon combo, not bad!
Before we left, we satisfied our sweet tooth by sharing a slice of their Belgian chocolate truffle cake served with mango sorbet. It was super rich from the dark chocolate, refreshing thanks to the sorbet, and best of all, plant-based!
If you’re strolling around Soho looking to satisfy your brunch cravings, the Old Compton Brasserie has to covered. And their drag brunch series will certainly turn your resting brunch face upside down!
Old Compton Brasserie can be found at 36-38 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 4TT, www.oldcomptonbrasserie.com