Eggs Benedict no longer cutting it for you? Try one of these exciting new high-end brunch concepts in Mayfair, from magical Mexican to classics mixed with Korean creativity
Lead image: Ella Canta
Galvin at Windows
For a Korean twist
Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows has launched a new Saturday brunch for autumn. Not only do you get to enjoy fantastic views over Hyde Park as you dine from the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane, you get to sample classic brunch dishes with a creative Korean twist courtesy of Head Chef Joo Won. Choose from a selection of breads (the pumpernickel with seeds and fruit is fantastic) and small plates (including fabulous raw scallops with plum soy and kohlrabi dressing and deliciously delicate kombu cured salmon with nori mayonnaise and pickled ginger) to start. Then choose from a selection of little sourdough toasts topped with the likes of smoked mackerel pâté with raisin, carrot and cabbage slaw; chicken with curry mayo and cabbage slaw; and Cervelle de canut with avocado. Take it easy though as the main course is still to come…
Choose from traditional egg dishes – Royal, Florentine, Benedict and Deluxe with charred lobster tail (which looked fabulous) –or opt for hearty dishes like Joo’s Super Breakfast (a truly fabulous full English that none of us dare tackle), Korean chicken thigh, pan-fried hake, kimchi risotto or, as I opted for, sauteed diced beef with soft polenta and onion jus. I don’t know the secret to Korean-style beef – it’s some sort of miracle marinade with soy sauce, sesame, ginger and garlic – but it’s always fantastic. You can choose to accompany your brunch with smoothies, bespoke cocktails or something from the extensive wine cellar (Galvin’s own brand champagne is a delight, FYI). Oh, and there’s dessert too – I can highly recommend the banana split.
Served Saturdays from 12pm-3pm (last orders 2.45pm)
Galvin at Windows, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair W1K 1BE; galvinatwindows.com
For marvellous Mexican
Ella Canta is my dream restaurant. The walls are blush pink, the cutlery is blush copper, the waitresses wear flower crowns à la Frida Kahlo and the restaurant’s signature Guacamole Nacionalista – complete with gold grasshopper – is divine. So when the celebrated Mexican restaurant, which opened just over a year ago, by renowned chef Martha Ortiz launched a weekend brunch menu with, get this, unlimited margaritas, we were there. You can choose from three-courses and margaritas for £45pp, or order dishes individually from the menu. We started with that gorgeous guacamole – zingy with lime and peppered with pomegranate seeds and ricotta (and that grasshopper? Tastes like chicken. Just kidding, it doesn’t really taste of anything, it’s just crispy and novel and GOLD!) – as well as a light, lovely shrimp aguachile (a chili-spiked Mexican ceviche) and the quesadilla of the day – topped with beef – with corn and Oaxaca cheese. The flight of colourful margaritas come in flavours including lavender, grapefruit, hibiscus, and pistachio – each created to match the different brunch courses (if you don’t fancy margaritas, the alternative bottomless option is a fabulous pink sparkling wine).
The main courses are where the real heft of traditional Mexican cuisine come in – do bring an appetite. I tucked into the huevos rancheros with fried eggs, refried beans, cheese and salsa roja en molcajete (a stone-ground red salsa that ain’t pretty, bless, but it is damn good), while my friend went for the torta ahogada estilo Guadalajara (Mexican bread stuffed with slow-cooked pork, avocado and abodo salsa. This one, we didn’t love, to be honest. It’s pretty hefty, essentially a ‘drowned sandwich’, and it was just a bit much, I guess (cancel that trip to Guadalajara). I knew we should’ve gone for the roasted beef suadero style with avocado sauce. But then come the Fantásticos churros Mexicanos, served with both bitter chocolate and a devilishly moreish sweet caramel sauce – and all is well again. We also delighted in a fantastic coconut and vanilla custard. And then, just as you’re ready to lay out flat along the blush banquet for a nap, the most adorable little wooden fairground wheel arrives carrying refreshing homemade ice pops (apparently, Oritz fills her suitcase with them every time she heads to Mexico – a very sweet touch).
Served from 11.30am every Saturday and Sunday
One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, Mayfair W1J 7QY; ellacanta.com
For brunch all’italiana
Francesco Mazzei’s renowned Mayfair restaurant, Sartoria, has also recently launched a brunch this is one for those who like to brunch all’italiana. Choose from a selection of brunch dishes inspired by southern Italy, such as Francesco’s revered eggs Purgatorio with spicy tomato and ’nduja sauce, as well as eggs and truffle (a combination of baked chicken, duck and quails’ eggs topped with truffle shavings), and Milano (a saffron risotto cake with soft boiled duck egg and wild mushrooms). There’s also the rather fabulous ‘Italian Job’, with pancetta, grilled polenta, avocado, Tuscan sausage, fried egg and roasted tomatoes.
If you prefer to go à la carte options, starters include burrata d’ Andria with peas and broad beans – because who can ever resist a burrata? – or you can go down the primi-secondi route and start with a substantial tagliolini all’astice with Scottish lobster, Amalfi lemon, chilli and basil, before tackling a main of Sartoria’s signature home-cured black cod with liquorice or 21-day aged Hereford beef with pumpkin and cavolo nero. Vegetarians aren’t ignored, with the likes of polenta with wild mushrooms and truffle or pumpkin mash with roasted vegetables. And if you’re really hungry, you can throw in a few cicchetti, like octopus salad, aubergine croquettes or spicy meatballs.
Brunch is served from 11am every Saturday
20 Savile Row, Mayfair W1S 3PR; sartoria-restaurant.co.uk