My love affair with brunch is well documented. Given the obsession with bottomless brunch we now have here in London originally stemmed from the New York tradition, brunch in America comes loaded with high expectations. Wandering through Venice Beach one sunny Sunday, shaking off the cobwebs from the night before with an excellent Groundwork Coffee, we wander down Abbot Kinney Blvd lazily, stopping to take photos of the incredible street art we come across. With all its great independent shops and little restaurants, Abbot Kinney feels like being in Australia to me – unsurprising given its proximity to the beach. Spotting two tiny fluffy puppies outside Willie Jane, and then the sign for bottomless brunch, we’re swiftly sold on where we’ll be eating that day. There are many great places to choose from to brunch in Venice, but puppies and prosecco? Table for two please.
Starting on the pitchers of mimosas which seemed to have no end in sight, here began one of my odder American experiences, in that the wait staff thought I was Adele. As in actually asked me, apparently legitimately if I was Adele. I’m still skeptical but my Californian friend I dined with was convinced they really did think I was the Oscar winning singer, so okay. I mean, I have the same length hair as Adele and I said ‘hello’ in a British accent on arrival, maybe that’s all it takes in LA. Who knows, but it set the tone for a really fun afternoon with friendly staff and plenty of mimosa refills.
We started off with the warm biscuits served with fresh burnt orange honey butter ($6), which were just as delicious as they sounds. Now the thing about biscuits, and a constant source of debate I have with Americans, is that to me they are pretty much scones. I can hardly tell the difference between them, except maybe slightly in texture. Not that I’m complaining, because both scones and biscuits are delicious, and I love seeing biscuits as a staple on American breakfast menus. Continuing the Southern theme, I had to go with one of Willie Jane’s fried chicken dishes, specifically the fried chicken and chorizo gravy sandwich served with slaw ($15). It was sublime. Proper Southern fried chicken, all juicy under the golden crispy buttermilk and set off beautifully with the colourful homemade slaw and chorizo flavours.
My friend went down a slightly healthier route with greek yoghurt, granola, berries and lavender honey ($8). I swiped a bit and it was excellent. The rest of the menu looks just as good: cinnamon French toast sticks; smoked brisket hash with fried eggs and more Southern style cooking with shrimp grits with scrambled eggs and bacon. Then of course you’ve got bottomless mimosas generously poured for you for the entirety of your time there for a mere $15 per person. Willie Jane has my heart.
We sat in the garden area outside, sheltered from the California sun by a pergola strung in lights and surrounded by pretty flowers and plants. Never rushed, the service was excellent – if a little off their game on star spotting – and I felt I could have easily sat there for hours enjoying the atmosphere and steadily making my way through several pitchers of mimosas. Which I think you’ll agree, is the kind of Sunday every Sunday should be. And rumour has it, Adele’s a big fan.
1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Brunch for 2 with bottomless mimosas including tax and service came in at $75.
Disclaimer: I am not Adele nor do I assume her identity bar at house parties when ‘Hello’ comes on. I have no idea if Adele has ever been to Willie Jane, though I do think she’d like it. The wait staff certainly would.