Brunch can be hit or miss. By definition, it’s neither lunch nor breakfast, but a little something in between the two. Given that my dad used to work in hotels, I grew up understanding the concept of brunch being a pretty lavish affair. I have fond memories of these spreads offering seemingly endless options for eats, and that my palate at the time thought that French toast with bacon, strawberries and gallons of maple syrup washed down by a Shirley Temple cocktail was the business . It could be said that my fate as a food-obsessed individual was sealed by a pretty young age.
So, show me a stingy or unimaginative buffet and I’ll show you a sad face. I’m glad to report and share with you that a new brunch has arrived at Hotel du Vin and it’s good. In fact, it’s ‘le bomb’. In truth, it focuses less on the breakfasty things, and goes all out for savoury continental with a bit of British Sunday lunch thrown in for good measure. I’d advise taking a healthy appetite with you too, as it turns out to be some feast!
For those feeling delicate from the previous night’s tippling, you’ll be glad to hear that the lighting in the bistro is at a suitably low level, and that staff are quick to offer a ‘hair du chien’ in the form of a bloody Mary, glass of bubbly, or old fashioned H20. We satisfied our thirst with a brilliantly fresh but balanced Chilean reserve Viognier.
Knowing that we had a four-course marathon ahead, we opted for a taster of the intro course of Soup du Jour, which on this Sunday was spiced parsnip. A cute little demitasse of the soup was enough to act as an opener, and the soup was sweet and buttery.
Next, a trip to the French Market Table, which the menu very accurately describes as offering ‘fresh seafood, crustacea, charcuterie, pâtés, rilletes and a selection of salads, vegetables and freshly baked artisan breads.’ The hot-smoked salmon took a serious hit as we all love the stuff, as did the langoustine and dressed crab. We were even offered some freshly shucked oysters, which seemed very decadent. The slices of crusty sourdough, some duck rillettes and leafy greens would have made my normal mid-week lunch die of embarrassment. In fact, if the whole lunch had been based around this spread of quality meats and seafood it would have been superbly satisfying, but we still had two more courses to go.
The menu offered à la carte main courses from a selection of classic casual dishes like risotto, omelette, salmon Hollandaise and burger, but the allure of the roast beef and promised proper Yorkie puds was the stuff of Sunday lunch dreams. Forget your grey roasts from carvery style restaurants of yore, as what was presented was the pinkest tastiest roast beast I’ve had in some time. A nice eye of fat through the middle gave so much flavour, and without shame we smothered it and its vegetable plate-fellows in the accompanying gravy. Mention should also go to how good the roasted carrots and parsnips were, with their caramelised flavours.
Dessert? Really? Waistlines were expanding, one or two of us were by this stage audibly groaning, but we gamely launched into the puds course. The apple crumble which I had was good but not amazing , could have done with more crunchy texture in the crumble, but frankly by this stage I was in need of a nap so my critical faculties were pretty dulled. I do remember that the custard was good though.
We had such a lovely time and a brilliant feed that our monthly Sunday lunch club now has its next date booked at the Glasgow Hotel du Vin, AKA One Devonshire Gardens. Just need to clear the food diary a few days ahead to make the most of it!
Le Brunch at Hotel du Vin, available Sundays 12pm to 3pm . More details online here.