It’s places like Friends Of Ours that make me a brunch snob. To be obnoxious enough to merge two core meals of the day and declare something entirely new, you’d better be damn sure that it improves on a standard bowl of cereal in the morning or a boring ham sandwich at midday.
It’s no secret that the antipodeans have brunch nailed. There’s always a bit too much avocado for this disappointing millennial, but you can pretty much always be guaranteed something fresh and unique from that side of the world. And that’s what the Aussie inspired Friends Of Ours has done.
In an unassuming little cafe, a five minute walk away from the never ending foot traffic of Old Street, I parked my heinously hungover self in a corner window seat and prayed for the healing power of an oat milk chai latte to help me keep my food down.
But when my plate of beef brisket benedict arrived, I didn’t need any sort of divine intervention to encourage me to get involved, and quickly. It helps, of course, that it looks stunning; I’ve never seen brisket look so colourful, with radish and cane glaze pimping up the presentation of a fully stacked plate. Dig beneath the colour, and the brown/beige food combo of dreamsawaited me. Tender, melt-in-the-mouth beef brisket; crisp, fried Jersey Royals and a perfectly poached egg would have been delicious enough, but then they just had to go and add the best part: an insane jalapeno hollandaise. Buttery, smooth, but with a light tingly heat giving it a bit of a kick; it’s totally inspired.
I was, frankly, ecstatic. My plate was taken away and replaced with another dish I had forgotten we’d ordered in our excitement at first seeing the menu. Inspired by the ultimate Australian ice cream, the Golden Gaytime, the Golden Daytime Bao wedged vanilla and salted caramel ice cream between two deep-fried bao, thoroughly coated in sugar. Around the edge of the plate, we could take our pick of everything that had been both sprinkled or carefully atop a healthy drizzle of caramel: chunks of honeycomb, fresh berries, popcorn and viola flowers, each element making every mouthful spectacular.
It’s brunch like you’ve never known it before. Your favourite dishes given a makeover when you didn’t even realise they needed it; ingredients that are a step away from the norm but not pretentious in any way. Friends Of Ours is simple, really. Which is what makes it so brilliant.
Find it at: Friends Of Ours, 61 Pitfield St, Hoxton, London N1 6BU (no reservations)
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