Brunch Club: Berners Tavern, W1

For our first Brunch Club gathering of the new year, we met on Saturday 27th January 2018 at Berners Tavern, The London Edition, 10 Berners Street, London W1T 3NP. The rest of the gang had been to this beautiful Fitzrovia brunch location last September, but I was feeling poorly and so missed out. As Brunch Club rules state that all four of us need to contribute to a review, it was decided that we had to return so that everyone could sample their weekend brunch menu.

The first time a Brunch Club badge has met a Heinz ketchup bottle

The first time a Brunch Club badge has met a Heinz ketchup bottle

INITIAL BEVERAGES

Ed: English breakfast as always, first tea of the day so I needed two pots worth!
Eleanor: Flat white. Though not really a flat white, more a macchiato as it was strong and not at all creamy.
Lou: A (very) small pot of tea that barely filled a cup… but which was lovely (and loose leaf).
Lori: I turned up last and, once again, my lovely fellow brunch clubbers had ordered a soya latte and an orange juice for me. The latte was pleasant enough, but the orange juice was lovely. So beautifully sweet that I ordered another!

WHAT WE HAD

Ed: I had the baked eggs which were heavenly, so simple but utterly delicious. Perfectly warming, filling, cheesy brunch food. For brunch dessert I had the waffles, they were very nice and fresh and well formed, but, as Eleanor says below, a little dry and dare I say, bland?
Eleanor: For my main I had the Full English Breakfast. The mushroom was possibly the best mushroom I’ve ever eaten. The tomato was pointless. The scrambled eggs were really delicious – clearly cooked in the right amount of butter. Good bacon and sausages. I had a fresh orange juice with my first course which was zesty and delicious. For brunch pudding I had the waffles – the waffle itself was great but it claimed to come with cream and ‘macerated raspberries’ – a google tells me these are soaked, and these were just fresh raspberries and so the toppings were quite dry.

Eleanor's Berners Tavern full English breakfast

Eleanor’s full English breakfast at Berners Tavern

Lou: I went for the baked eggs, which is truly delicious, and incredibly indulgent with lots of cream, spinach, mushroom and gruyere cheese *drool*. Honestly, the quality of the ingredients makes the dish rich without being filling and is honestly the best breakfast dish I have ever eaten. I followed up with the blueberry pancakes with honey banana which were fluffy, crispy, tasty and packed full of fruit.
Lori: I had an extremely delicious cheese and ham omelette, with a side of bacon. Not very photogenic but so tasty that it probably wouldn’t have lasted long enough for a photo even if it was! As there was only pancakes, waffles and French toast on the sweet section of the menu, I asked if there was anything without wheat and was flatly told, “no, that’s all there is.” My shocked expression elicited a sullen “we could perhaps do a fruit salad”, but I decided to go for a cocktail instead. Sadly, it wasn’t good enough to make up for the lack of brunch pudding.

Eleanor's waffles with raspberries and whipped cream at Berners Tavern

Eleanor’s waffles with raspberries and whipped cream at Berners Tavern

WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?

Ed: We had soooo much to talk about!
Eleanor: So much! Birthdays, holidays, seals, jobs.
Lou: Book of Mormon, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, impending All Stars 3.
Lori: It was my first brunch club as a married woman so I thought it’d be wedding chat, but having a tiny wedding means there’s not actually that much to tell. So, yeah, lots of theatre chat and work related stuff, plus some All Stars 3 excitement!

Lou's baked eggs and tea at Berners Tavern

Lou’s baked eggs and tea at Berners Tavern

SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS

Lou's blueberry pancakes at Berners Tavern

Lou’s stack of fluffy blueberry pancakes at Berners Tavern

Ed: I think the service was mostly good, quite attentive and everyone seemed to know what they were doing, aside from the aforementioned interaction with Lori, which sadly must dock a few points. The atmosphere was great, very grand setting indeed but we were not made to feel on edge of out of place. I do, however, remember noticing a waiter give another diner a large dose of side eye for walking in wearing SHORTS though! Men’s loos were pleasant enough, unsure why they didn’t just have a row of unisex individual cubicles?
Eleanor: The service was generally good, I felt a little rushed to order the food but we were left alone to sit and catch for a good while after we’d finished dessert. Lori’s interaction with the waiter saddened me a touch. The actual decor is incredible, I was gobsmacked when I first ever walked in, such a beautiful space and we had a nice table tucked out of the way so quiet. The toilets were good – though gendered despite being individual cubicles!
Lou: service was on the whole discreet, attentive and polite, but the lack of flexibility on dietary requirements was a shame. The toilets are pretty, clean, with delicious smelling hand products but the doors are heavy, so perhaps not good for those with restricted mobility?
Lori: The decor is glorious and I like that we were left to chat and not rushed out, but I have to say I was quite upset by the waiter’s reaction to my request for something sweet. I’d hoped there might be a lunch menu with a different set of desserts, but I was left feeling rather foolish for asking.

POST-BRUNCH-PUDDING PLANS

Ed: I popped along to Tottenham Court Road to pick up my new Nintendo Switch and a few games, then rushed home to play it all afternoon (Husband was thrilled!)
Eleanor: I headed home via Jubilee Line with Lou. Sadly I had to wait 20 minutes for a bus from the station, and then traffic delayed it which meant it took nearly twice as long to make up for it but I had a nap once I was home.
Lou: I went spectacle shopping…although I didn’t buy any!
Lori: I headed to Paddington station (where I bought a gluten-free chocolate brownie from M&S as my brunch pudding!), as I was going to meet my sister, half-sister and niece for a long overdue get-together.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Traditional Brunch Club selfie!

Traditional Brunch Club selfie!

Ed: Really great venue with *some* great dishes (baked eggs were amazing, waffles were a bit bland) worth it for a pre-shopping spree on Oxford Street brunch.
Eleanor: The venue is quite spectacular, and the food is good. If you’re looking for somewhere ‘a bit nice’ to go, this is a good bet but it didn’t leave me feeling wowed as I’d expect from a meal costing as much as this one did. I had a wonderful time but I’ll put that down as thanks to the wonderful company.
Lou: Berners Tavern is a slick brunch spot in a lovely space with some delicious food… But it is pricey, busy, and at times noisy.
Lori: A truly lovely location and very central, but nothing particularly outstanding about the food. The omelette may have been tasty, but so was the cheaper one I had with chips at the Little Portland Cafe (which is only a short walk away)!

The image of Berners Tavern at the top of this post is via Mr Gentleman. All other images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food.

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