I do have a soft spot for this quirky hotel brand where I have also overnighted. No fear of being the sad sack brunching alone and needing to play mobile Angry Birds for company here on a Sunday, the Mal Brasserie menu provides a nifty word search and Sudoku on its back page to entertain those enjoying oeufs-for-one.
Sunday Brunch is a new initiative at the Mal Brasserie – an eye-poppingly good value spread, with piggy delights galore gracing the Chef’s serving table and mains filling enough to make my post-Crimbo spare tyre look more like the Jeep it was meant to support. 3 courses in total for just £19.95 – and don’t think they have scrimped on the quality either.
I began with a glossy, rich, soothing and saltily delicious wild mushroom soup, glistening with tiny pools of coppery truffle oil. This was the ideal balm to coat my gut region for the onslaught of pork-derived whoreing that ensued, a triple visit to the buffet table – venison scotch eggs, silky pork rillettes, salumi, coppa, iberico ham carved to order, pickled mushrooms, pickled beetroot, homemade piccalilly, a tranche of wood-smoked salmon, mackerel, tete de porc terrine, waffles to order, pancakes to order, eggs any way you want, a pungeant and feety tome de savoie being shaved into unctuous curls… I could go on, but to do so would impede me with a verbal hernia and thus cause this post to come to an abrupt end, without space to contemplate the burger beyond…
The burger, in fact, whilst perfectly fine, was less of a bang and a pop whizz than the Chef’s buffet. A decent, well-cooked, adequatly sized patty in a golden brioche bun that would be gloriously sized were it not for that fact that I was on my knees screaming for a doggy bag long before this came to the table. I do regret not having opted for the Huevos Rancheros, a particular favourite of mine… Choices, choices? I did say this was value for money….
Finally, post-burger (and post an unremarkable, but again, decent fillet steak and frites) we came to dessert. Crepes Suzettes appealed for its retro chic inclusion on the menu. I had hopes for a flamboyant display of flaming Grand Marnier and lots of fiddling with copper pans and spoons at the table, but they came ready-made and minus the AA-mass exit-inducing whiff of alcoholic fug that usually accompanies them. But damnit, they were good. Very good. Thick, soft, bouncy, cushiony pancakes of sweet love, bathed in an orangey jammy juice and slathered in icing sugar. Sticky and joyfully reminiscent of playschool.
A creme brûlée was pleasant, but I secretly just wanted to wash my face with the Crepes Suzettes a second time rather than order a different desert for the sake of variety.
I can’t recommend the excellent value of this brunch highly enough. Central London location, plush and cosy interior, welcoming and professional staff and a menu to pay smackdown to the heartiest of appetites, all within minutes of trendy Barbican and Farringdon – wherein to whet the artistic appetites, or simply retire for a post-lunch sing song at Karaoke Box in Smithfield…
18-21 Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6AH
Brunch available Sundays until 3 p.m.
3 courses – £19.95