What is Brunch? And why? For people who slept through breakfast? Or can’t wait till lunch? Or to wash down “hair of the dog” remedies to the night before?
Apparently, brunch originated in England in the late 19th century and was embraced by the US in the 1930s. English writer Guy Beringer is credited with the portmanteau talking up “a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare”. Anyways, it’s a thing. That people do.
Whether Guy Beringer envisaged “smashed avo” and huevos rancheros is unlikely, but I’d imagine he’d approve of “bottomless brunch” at Blues Kitchen. At least the “rhesus negative” Bloody Marys.
I am unclear how many of the mostly 20/30-somethings populating a midday Blues Kitchen are going “bottomless” (unlimited refills for two hours) but we start with a rock solid Bloody Mary while navigating a menu of stateside tinged fry-ups, whopping sausage patty burgers, buttermilk pancakes, crab benedict and banana and walnut granola.
Blues Kitchen’s noisy night-time brashness has given way to a chirpy hum of people catching up, pausing a shopping trip and possibly a few first daters who woke up together this morning via Tinder?
If you don’t know it and its siblings, Blues Kitchen is big, brash reproduction all-day, and most of the night of New Orleans’ Bourbon bar, restaurant-diner and bluesy live music venue (with an impressive wall of liquors). They claim to have London’s largest whisky collection.
Despite an almost pathological devotion to big steamy fry-ups, I went all Mexican cattleman with heuvos rancheros, a big steamy combo of refried beans, chorizo, guacamole, tomatoes, fried eggs and crispy corn tortillas. My appointed brunch buddy chose, yep, smashed avo on toast with a couple of pert poached eggs. I’ve since been back for the “full English” which is also impressive.
I reckon I got the better deal – this is hearty stuff, it’s cold out there, and after being on a self-imposed chorizo holiday, nice to back to hunks of paprika infused sausage. The eggs of course tie it all together and yolks running into the beans and chorizo is a winning combo, whether you are about to herd cattle or collapse into a sofa with the Sundays. Almost the epitome of big “man” food.
I thought the smashed avo was, what ultimately it is, some beaten up avocado on toast (with a lime dressing). Nice (and healthy) but probably not so much for our Mexican rancher. Maybe more for the summer. Star of my show were the Bloody Marys – classic recipe, bit of booze but hearty and savoury with kick from the Tabasco.
Blues Kitchen is a relaxed, slick operation, although an operation it pretty much is. I guess soul is earned rather than acquired. But that is at least partly unfair on a perfectly decent couple of hours chewing the fat, and chowing down on good, not interstellar, but definitely good, brunch. Brunch 10am-4pm Sat & Sun.
40 Acre Lane, SW2 5SP | 020 7274 0591 | theblueskitchen.com/brixton | @TheBluesKitchen