I have been hunting for a rival to my long-time favourite bottomless brunch at South Place Chop House for a while now, and the beautifully designed Broadgate Circle outpost of The Botanist has finally achieved it. All in spite of the fact that this brunch has a two hour limit – usually a pet hate of mine. That makes me sound…not great. Shut up, I don’t like to be rushed, okay? I like to linger over a table with friends and family, and all the better when someone is topping up my glass for hours on end without my noticing.
A lot of places doing all you can drink brunches in London now seem to be running on the novelty of the occasion, and that works. It pulls in the masses and is brilliant for large groups for birthdays and other special occasions since it’s good value for money and frankly, a lot of fun. Twenty somethings in London are all over it. Sometimes the food is pushed by the wayside though, and it’s great to see The Botanist bringing an offering to the table that perhaps A Bit Fancier and certainly special enough to take your family to, should you wish to initiate them into the London brunch scene.
As a large group of fifteen we had to pre-order our meal which was no mean feat. Guessing what you’ll fancy to eat in advance is never easy, and the stellar starter selection in particular made it near on impossible to choose. Luckily with a sizeable team of brunchers you can usually bargain your way into a bite of several different dishes. An original twist on the classic Eggs Benedict, the soft shell crab Benedict with jalapeño hollandaise was a popular if unusual choice, though do be sure you like a bit of spice in your food before getting swayed by those gorgeous three words “soft shell crab” – it had quite a kick for the first meal of the day. The classic came with caviar atop and the most perfect poached egg, though I could have done with a bit extra hollandaise to balance the huge English muffin everything was perched on. Avocado and chilli on toast was improved further with a couple of slices of smoked bacon perched on top and the chorizo and spring onion hash with double fried eggs served those getting over their hangovers more than well.
The options for main include what may be one of the most tempting vegetarian meals I’ve heard of recently: artichoke tortellini, roast Jerusalem’s, walnut and kale pesto; though of course I will forever opt for the meat. Enter a Weiner schnitzel twice the size of my face, fried to golden perfection Weiner schnitzel, served with caper butter and one of the most delicious sides of mash I’ve had. Butter. Lots of butter. Huge portions of moules frites satisfied half the table and the salmon fishcake with spinach was a good option for something a bit smaller, making three courses all the easier to tackle.
Desserts included treacle tart and honeycomb cheesecake with figs, both very good but by this point most of us were stuffed and full of a combination of Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, bellinis, prosecco and wine. One of the biggest draws for this brunch is the unique element of having unlimited ETM wine at your disposal rather than the usual fizzy affair. I didn’t take advantage this time but I certainly will the next. With attentive staff, a setting that gorgeous – all copper and industrial but warm with soft leather seats at the same time, and food this good, there’s always a next time.
Broadgate Circle, City of London, EC2M 2QS
+44 (0)20 3058 9888
Nearest tube Liverpool Street or Moorgate