The Providores & Tapa Room, Marylebone

Chef Peter Gordon started cooking in his homeland of New Zealand, then in Australia before moving to London in 1989 to share his eclectic fusion cuisine with the Brits. He has won many accolades since with his restaurants The Sugar Club (Notting Hill and Soho) and The Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone. The Providores has become a breakfast favourite for me, providing a friendly space for weekday meetings and weekend catch-ups with friends.

The Providores & Tapa Room

Earlier this week I joined a group of keen foodies at The Providores for a morning of menu trialling. The current breakfast menu features dishes like Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline and The Providores iconic Turkish eggs with whipped yoghurt and hot chilli butter.

In the mood for something sweet I opted for French toast with roasted pineapple, mango, Oxford honey mascarpone, smoked streaky bacon and blueberries, accompanied by Volcano coffee and freshly squeezed fruit juice. The ingredients were perfectly compiled on the plate, a contrast of tropical fruit, salty bacon, soft and sugary french toast and whipped mascarpone. It was indulgent and delicious, an entirely new take on the usual french toast recipe. As I was enjoying my hearty breakfast I heard murmurs of admiration from the nextdoor table, who were tucking into the Turkish eggs… and promised myself I’d have that dish on my next visit.

More information and book a table at The Providores & Tapa Room here.

German Gymnasium, King’s Cross

King’s Cross has become a hotspot for brunch addicts with Caravan and Granger & Co setting up branches, and now we welcome German Gymnasium to the team. This historic former gym has been given a new lease of life, with a grand dining room and German inspired menu.

German GymnasiumGerman GymnasiumGerman Gymnasium

The sophisticated dining room is spacious and airy, a lovely place to enjoy a relaxed morning catching up with friends. We sat at a quiet window table, sipping milky cappuccinos and freshly squeezed juices. At night I imagine this great hall dazzles, with the high ceiling and magnificent decor.

German GymnasiumGerman Gymnasium

The breakfast menu is a mix of British brunch favourites (think avocado and poached eggs on toast) and less familiar German dishes. We encouraged each other to opt for the German specialities, and were pleasantly surprised. Puszta Pan is similar to Shakshuka or ratatouille, a mix of finely chopped courgette, tomato and onion with fried egg and goat’s cheese. It was a tasty and comforting dish, though it did remind me more of dinner recipe than breakfast. Half Croissant & Half Brezel was a decadent delight… Bacon & egg Brezsant with mustard and sauerkraut. To absolve our breakfast sins we also tucked into healthy greek yoghurt with granola and fresh grapefruit.

On a Monday morning, this European-style restaurant was almost empty and lacking in atmosphere, but I imagine at the weekend when locals and Eurostar travellers are stopping by, it feels rather more exciting and glamorous. Personally, I enjoyed sampling a brunch which strayed from the usual dishes and challenged my tastebuds with something new and delicious.

More information and book a table at German Gymnasium here.

Weekend Brunch at Sardine

Alex Jackson first worked with Stevie Parle at Dock Kitchen before heading up the kitchen at Rotorino. He has recently brought his culinary expertise East to open up his first solo venture, Sardine, with a concept inspired by the flavours and recipes from the South of France region.

Sardine Restaurant

It is a modest restaurant, tucked away on Micawber Street, nearby to Old Street Station. The dining room has a homely feel, with colourful bunches of flowers on each table and a mural on the back wall. We visited on a quiet Sunday morning to try the weekend brunch menu.

Sardine RestaurantSardine Restaurant

With so many London establishments offerings brunch now it is easy to get overwhelmed by where to dine on your precious weekends. Sardine has a regularly changing menu which certainly doesn’t follow the crowd. Extravagant dishes such as Artichoke, Egg, Tuna & Tomatoes Nicoise and Onglet Steak with Fried Egg and Trompette de la Mort feature.

After a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a much-needed French Press coffee we turned our attention to the menu of tempting treats. First we opted for a plate of the sweetest late summer figs with yoghurt and honey, which was topped with fragrant dried rose petals, a delicious combination. Struggling to choose, we ordered a few hot dishes to sample: 24 Month Comte Fried Sandwich, Potato Cakes with Herbs, Creme Fraiche and Pickles and a Breakfast Cassoulet.

Sardine Restaurant

The food was a triumph, high quality ingredients, cooked to perfection. The fried comte sandwich is must, oozing mature, nutty flavoured cheese, I could have happily had it for lunch every day this week. Potato cakes were lighter, and with the creamy sauce and pickles felt almost Scandinavian in style. Cassoulet was a bold and luxurious dish, packed with white beans, pork belly, duck, blood sausage and egg, balanced in taste and texture, but a bit too much for a morning meal for me.

Sardine Restaurant

With family from Provence I feel very fondly about the traditional cuisine from this special area of the world. Sardine encapsulates the vibrant colours and flavours of the cote d’azur, which will make you dream of warmer climes whilst sitting in a rather more grey corner of East London.

More information and book a table here.