Balthazar, on the edge of Covent Garden, turns up on almost every “best brunch in London” list I’ve ever come across. I feel like my entire brunching life prior to going there had a distinct void – something classy, eccentric and bustling was very much missing from it.
Making a reservation is an absolute must at Balthazar, and because of Sunday engineering works I had undertaken an hour long bus journey and blustery walk across Waterloo Bridge to get there. I was meeting my antipodean-brunch-philosophy devotee, Stephanie, there – ever since moving from Sydney, we’ve been touring the London brunch scene trying to find places that are up to the Sydney standard.
Balthazar definitely is, but it’s also got the kind of atmosphere you just wouldn’t find in Sydney. It’s a cavernous room with a lofty ceiling, and loud with the chatter of happy brunchers. Oozing glamour, I felt like Jay Gatsby might walk in at any moment.
Stephanie had the eggs florentine, which were very tasty but there was a little too much hollandaise for her liking which meant when you broke the eggs, it all got a bit runny. But, she reported, the coffee was excellent.
I’ve elected to give up meat for lent this year (I’m seriously struggling… I miss chicken so much already) and therefore decided to go all out and have the full English breakfast. It was a difficult toss up between that and the scrambled eggs with cornish crab, which I haven’t seen on a menu before and looked extremely good. I’ll have to have that next time, as I will obviously be returning.
The full English comes with little sauteed potatoes and perfectly creamy scrambled eggs. I swapped the baked beans for spinach which was no problem. They don’t scrimp on the vegetables either – you get a delicious grilled tomato and mushroom to go with your mountains of meat. Despite some of the more eclectic things on the menu, making a good job of the classics is equally important.