Brasserie James: The Brunch

Possibly the best Bloody Mary I ever had.. 
Brunch is the best!

A whole day stretches ahead, yawning in your face, tempting you to eat, eat, eat. And so we ate. Last weekend, we ate at Brasserie James, in Clapham South, London. Our brunch crew is currently in the process of trawling around local eateries in the South London area (of notable recommendation, I can suggest The Nightingale & The Antelope). Summer Sundays are most certainly for an overindulgent few hours between 11am & 2 (after a rather virtuous jog or gym sesh)...

First off, the morning cocktails (ah, now there's a most glorious pairing of words!): Mimosa, a Classic Bellini, or Bloody Mary - and all at the very reasonable price of 4.00GBP. The Bloody Mary was superb - spicy, peppery, ice-cold, just the right amount of liquid to tomato goodness, and it wasn't too thick to need stirring, or too thin to go down too quickly. I have to admit that I'm reluctant to try other morning cocktails since this is my trusty brunch partner, although of course to my detriment, this didn't really pair well with my choice of food. I usually go for a vegetarian English option (I eat meat, but I enjoy seeing the inspiration behind seriously competitive veggie alternatives); this time, I decided to break ranks & go for the pancake. The thick, American-style, blueberry-filled, drizzled with maple syrup & bacon kind. The pancakes were delicious, the perfect size, cooked well, & the fruit drizzled out when I cut into them. The syrup was lovely & sweet, & as a new born-again bacon convertee, the meat was pretty good too.

Others tried the full meat brunch, which came with generously large mushrooms, 2 sausages (good effort!), bacon, grilled tomato, black pudding & toast. Everything seemed to go down pretty well. So much so, that I thought I better not miss out on the option to try dessert. Three of them. A chocolate fondant/bomb pudding, a vanilla-scented creme brulee, & a raspberry mille feuille. To paraphrase common parlance, don't judge a book by its cover; do judge a restaurant by its dessert. Judge away, friends. This dessert(s) was to die for. Particularly impressive: the thick, glossy chocolate pouring out from the cocoa cake, a little cracked on top, spongy yet dense, just lovely.

Any disappointments? The bacon was nice, but I wasn't begging for more - arguably this may be attributed more to my newly baconivorre status, rather than the way the meat was cooked. I would be interested to try it fried & crispy, it might pair well with the soft pancakes. Whilst I didn't actually try the toast served with brunch, I am a bit of a breaded goods fiend, & would have preferred a wholesome, seeded or freshly baked crusty slice; this looked a little like a loaf from a good supermarket. One other, albeit minor, query: I'm not quite sure whether the Brasserie is trying for a fusion feel? The black pudding was a Scottish touch (but not of Scottish origin, as per our waiter), the dessert plate was described as an assiette (presumably since those on offer were French), whilst another dessert, an English raspberry cranachan, drew on both the English & Scottish partnership. Reading up on their intentions, the chef (well respected Craig James) wants to bring both a British & contemporary influence, working with quality sources & smaller suppliers. It could come across as pretentious. But it doesn't. Classic decor, & welcoming, knowledgeable waiters (ours somehow managed the feat of pouring 6 glasses of water, arranged on 1 tray perched on 1 hand,  & pouring with the other!) I could say more, but there's no need. Let the food say the rest. 

American style blueberry pancakes with bacon & maple syrup
full brunch is served with a black pudding & generously sized mushrooms

Assiette of desserts
creme brulee // raspberrie mille feuille
the BOMB!

{all photos by me}


The Pink Monocle said...

I'm an all day breakfast/brunch type of gal and these photos have left me hungry!! My girlfriends and I have been doing the exact thing, trolling the best Toronto brunch spots.

The Pink Monocle

Katie said...

hehe, thanks! i've never been to Toronto, would love to check it out <3

Katie x

titaz said...

hmmm... looks so delicious :)

nice to meet u :)
from jakarta with love,

Fabrizia said...

Hi! I like this post so much, really great!Now i feel hungry..
If you want come and visit my blog, and if you like, follow me!


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