The Handbook
The Handbook

What: There are many reasons why I love autumn, for 1) the clothes, goodbye dresses that get hot and sticky and hello jumpers, tailored coats and boots 2) no more having to spend every single minute outside for fear of not making the most of the weather and 3) you can now eat comfort food again (although admittedly eating 3 burgers and 2 hotdogs as you would at a BBQ is no longer acceptable which doesn’t seem particularly fair). And I have found the perfect comfort food brunch, at Mark Hix’s restaurant Tramshed in Shoreditch.

New? The brunch launched at the beginning of summer, although with sweltering temperatures meaning that all we wanted to do was live off salads washed down with rosé, now that we are into autumn the brunch can really come into its own.

The Look: Housed in a former East End tram-generator building, the restaurant has a stripped back, industrial edge with exposed bricks, porcelain tiles, metal pillars and concrete floors. Wooden tables and metal chairs are flanked by burnt caramel leather banquettes and at one end there’s a mezzanine level, ideal if you’ve got a big group or want the perfect spot for people watching. It’s simple, bordering on utilitarian and above it all commanding the attention of the room is Damien Hirst’s installation Cock ‘n’ Bull which physically puts the Swainson House chicken and Peter Hannan’s beef found on the menu centre stage.

On the Menu: The menu is made up of classic brunch dishes, but all with a Mark Hix twist. Take the shakshuka for example, it’s not just any shakshuka it’s served with a double yolker and Ridley Road flatbread or the smashed avocado on toasted sourdough which is given a spicy kick. Of course, the star is the Black Cow breakfast yorkie, stuffed with either cheese, bacon, sausage and tomato or cheese, tomato and mushroom.

What We Ate: Naturally we had to go for the breakfast yorkie, a cross between a Yorkshire pudding and a bacon sandwich and it is pure comfort indulgence. It had the potential to be twee especially if they were filled mini Yorkshire puddings but these aren’t, these are the sort of thing you’d want to tuck into after a cold morning walk, hearty, proper food.  Layers of fluffy, Yorkshire pudding sandwich melted cheese, crispy bacon and sausage, although it did just need something to cut through the meatiness, a spicy sauce or a take on brown sauce. If the breakfast yorkie isn’t your thing then go for the Cock n Bull hash, with layers of shredded potato and beef  and topped with a fried Braddock White duck egg.

Chocolate fiends need to go for the Peruvian Gold chocolate mousse. The decadent, extremely chocolatey mousse is broken up with golden crumbs of sweet honeycomb. Or if that sounds too much the waitress let us in on a good tip (which also means you get a pudding for just £3.50), order a scoop of the Credit Crunch ice cream  with hot chocolate sauce and the mini chocolate cake – a bite of dense, fudgy cake. Perfect for when you need that sweet hit but can’t manage a whole pudding.

What We Drank: You can make it a boozy affair with bottomless Bloody Marys or Prosecco for two hours or check out the various G&Ts or Black Cow pure milk vodka and seasonal cocktails.

Where: 32 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3LX

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