As I’m sure most of you will know, brunch is one of my very favourite things to do at the weekend. I can often spend my working week daydreaming about a good helping of eggs and toast at one of my fave brunch spots. I tend to go somewhere fairly close to where we live (and there are a lot of great places, such as Mud and Brickwood) but when I was invited to the launch of the new brunch menu at Hard Rock Cafe, I ventured further into central London, early on a Sunday morning.
I’d never been to Hard Rock Cafe in London. The only one I’d previously visited was in Hollywood, after a long flight from London. While I remember the food being good, I couldn’t really take advantage of the atmosphere and surroundings, as the impending jet lag was dragging me towards my bed. The impression I got, and had generally always had about the Hard Rock Cafe, was that it was more for the tourists than the locals. However, situated on Park Lane, London’s Hard Rock Cafe is hardly in one of the most obvious tourist spots – it could easily be located around Leicester Square/Piccadilly Circus, but instead it’s in one of the nicest, most up market areas of the capital.
Upon arrival Tim and I were seated on a round table with some other bloggers right at the front of the restaurant where the live band were setting up. As we were both nursing mild hangovers (it was Sunday morning after all!) I was a bit concerned it was going to be stupidly noisy right in our ears. But as the band started, we needn’t have worried. Sure, they were fairly loud, but they were also really, really good! Playing everything from The Beatles to Franz Ferdinand. We both really enjoyed their performance and were clapping along in our seats.
The venue is also something to behold – it’s hard to know where to look, as the walls are adorned with such incredible memorabilia – clothes from Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton’s guitar, and so on. There’s also a Hard Rock Cafe museum right next door if you want to see even more.
At brunch, you have a choice of unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Marys, juice, tea or coffee. We both went for a Bloody Mary to begin with, which was served up as vodka, tomato juice and salt, but on the table was a basket of goodies to customise your drink as you like it. Probably a wise management decision to allow customers to ‘make their own’ given the amount likely to be served during the two hour time slot from 10am to midday. It was also fun to be able to make it exactly as you want it, with a choice of Tabasco, Lea & Perrins, lemon, lime, chilli and celery. We eventually moved on to Mimosas, as the Bloody Marys got a bit heavy after a while. It would be quite nice to have the option of other drinks, even if at an additional cost, in case you’re not keen on either of these drinks.
And next came the food. The menu listed three ‘sharer’ platters, as follows:
Baked eggs with red peppers, spinach and feta cheese, topped with grilled courgette and a sprinkling of parmesan
Southern fried chicken, crisp smoked bacon, chipolata sausages, south west potatoes, cowboy beans, grilled plum tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms and american style waffles
Freshly toasted bagels and homemade pancakes accompanied by fruit compote, maple syrup, whipped butter, salmon cream cheese and pickles
We weren’t sure if you were supposed to pick one, but it soon became apparent that all three are served for the whole table. We started with the bagels which were served with a warm fruit compote and a selection of spreads served in the middle of the table to share. There was supposed to be pancakes too, but sadly these never arrived.
The main course was a big platter of meat (always fine by me!!!) with fried chicken, sausage, bacon, waffles, tomatoes, mushrooms and chips. It seemed a bit odd that between 6 of us, we were given 3 pieces of chicken (chicken on the bone is pretty difficult to share!) but everything was tasty and felt like a genuine American breakfast, in terms of flavours and the way things had been cooked.
What I was really disappointed about, was the fact that the egg dish never arrived, and this was the one I was most looking forward to. Given it was the launch of the new brunch menu, the restaurant was insanely busy, with the waitresses rushing around constantly. But sadly some mistakes, such as this, and the missing pancakes, were made. Missing pancakes I can deal with, but it’s hard to do a proper review of the food when you weren’t served a third of it. At one point, a member of the team asked if we’d received the egg dish yet, to which we told him we hadn’t, but alas, it still never arrived. And when the waitress came and took our plates away, we realised it was never going to happen. All I can say is it certainly looked nice, judging by the plates served on the tables around us.
It was definitely a fun morning, and to be honest, I’d have happily paid the £30 cost of brunch to sit and drink cocktails and watch the band. My biggest question with the brunch at Hard Rock Cafe is whether ‘locals’ will go to it. If I was a tourist on holiday in London, it would be such an awesome thing to do – brunch in an iconic venue, on a Sunday morning, with a live band! So if you’re reading this from overseas and you’re planning a London trip, schedule this in! But for me, brunch is usually a chilled affair (potentially after a night out on a Saturday), and so the Hard Rock Cafe vibe might be a bit too much. I’m also not sure if you could truly make the most of the ‘bottomless’ element of the drinks on a Sunday – quite a few brunch menus in London seem to have extended this offer to Saturdays now, perhaps for this reason. That’s just my view though, let me know what you think in the comments/on social.
There’s more information about the Sunday Brunch at Hard Rock Cafe on their website here.
I was invited to brunch at Hard Rock Cafe, but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.