Drinking in a morning tends to be reserved for special occasions – weddings, Christmas and the like, but recently it seems that boozy brunches have become the ‘it’ thing in London and I can’t wake up on a weekend scroll through my Instagram or Twitter feed without seeing several photos of some early bird who has woken up, got themselves dressed and presentable and out of the house to order brunch accompanied by a glass of prosecco all before I’ve managed to stumble to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. I’m not one to watch a bandwagon go by without me though, especially a bandwagon with booze and eggs benedict, and so I knew I had to become part of the new brunch culture.
I’m a big fan of Jones and Sons‘ outpost at Trip Bar and Kitchen in Haggerston but until last week hadn’t been to their original restaurant in Dalston. An invitation to sample the new bottomless brunch at Jones at Sons was the perfect opportunity to pay their first home a visit. Located in Arcola Street just off the main road, the frontage is unassuming and you could almost walk straight past it (which would definitely be a mistake). The building itself was originally a textile factory before playing host to a theatre. It’s now flooded with natural light thanks to a large full-height window and doors (a blogger’s dream for photographing food) and an open kitchen is housed (literally, it’s in a house) in the corner so you can, if you like, watch the chefs at work.
We arrived at 11.30am and although we weren’t the first there, it was still quiet at that point. There are two options for the bottomless brunch – on the wagon (£20) or off the wagon (£27). Either way you get an unlimited amount of food, the difference is the drinks. On the wagon and you have the choice of soft drinks including Monmouth coffee, tea, orange and grapefruit juice, lemonade or a Virgin Mary. Off the wagon and you can choose between a Bloody Mary, Bucks Fizz, Bellini or prosecco.
We were off the wagon. I chose a Bellini and my boyfriend went all Made in Chelsea and for the first time ever decided to try a Bloody Mary. He always used to mock me for watching Made in Chelsea and refused to watch it, until I made him watch the Bachelor on Channel 5 with me (remember that? No? Just me?), the first season featured Gavin Henson, the second season had Spencer Matthews. After that he got lured into watching Made in Chelsea and he quickly became hooked. Given their penchant for a Bloody Mary, he decided to join the club and have brunch with a Bloody Mary. Served with not only a stick of celery but also lemon and a cooling slice of cucumber it provided a punchy kick that, if you weren’t fully awake already would certainly get you well on your way to being alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic. By coincidence it was Jones and Sons’ second birthday and so we raised our first glass to them.
We browsed the menu and chose our first dishes, Eggs Royale with perfectly poached eggs for him and pancakes, blueberries, crispy bacon and maple syrup for me. Both great solid breakfast/brunch dishes.
There’s something about brunching on a Saturday morning that feels particularly indulgent and lazy and we tucked into our food to a soundtrack laced heavy with Beyonce unhurried by the pressures of either a busy day ahead or any pressure to move on. The emphasis seemed very much on enjoying a leisurely morning, with attentive and charming service from all the staff. Even when the place started to fill up around 12.30pm service remained quick and responsive, once we had finished our drinks another round of drinks was offered without any need to ask for them, which always makes you feel that little bit better about ordering a third Bellini.
Although it’s unlimited food over the course of a two hour period, deciding is actually much tougher than you might think as everything on the menu sounded amazing. The menu covers all bases from the traditional full English to lighter dishes like avocado on toast.
For his second dish my boyfriend chose the French toast with maple syrup. I’m not sure why but I have never been one for French toast, I think a poor experience of soggy French toast when I was younger put me off. This was the chance for French toast to redeem itself to me and it definitely did that. Fluffy and sweet and, lets be honest, more pillowy cake than the soggy, eggy bread I had always shied away from before. No more will I eschew French toast. Or at least not at Jones and Sons. It’ll be top of my list when we return.
Having had food envy over my boyfriend’s Eggs Royale (if only I could poach eggs and make hollandaise…) I ordered Eggs Benedict for my second round dish. With lightly grilled lean ham it was perfect and pretty damn photogenic too.
Before we had ordered and consumed our second dish we’d contemplated sharing a third dish, the yoghurt, granola, berries and honey as a kind of breakfasty dessert, but by the time we’d finished our French toast and Eggs Benedict, we were too full to even consider it.
It turns out that, in the absence of Spanish style half racións that allow you to try a bit of everything, the key to a bottomless brunch is to pick well and pace yourself. Based on the dishes we tried, it’s hard at Jones and Sons not to pick well. Pacing yourself might be more tricky though!
So, get yourself over to Dalston in East London from 11am-4pm on Saturdays and 11am-1pm on Sundays for a wonderful bottomless brunch.
Our meal was provided on a complimentary basis but the views expressed here are my own unbiased opinions. Thanks Jones and Sons!