It was time to get the Boozy Bunch back together for what we do best – put the claim of a Bottomless Brunch to the test. And this time we were coming en masse with a massive group of 16 joining in for the fun. We had originally planned to go cheap and cheerful with Busaba Eathai only to find out two weeks ahead of the date that Busaba had decided to put its brunch on hold! Luckily, thanks to Bottomless Bookings, we secured a space at Aubaine Broadgate which had a pretty stellar offer for unlimited food for £15 and unlimited Prosecco for a further £15.
Given the 2 hour time limit on your eating and drinking kicks off when you place the first order, it’s probably best to find another place to hole up which you wait for your group. We ended up at the Merchant of Bishopsgate that is located inside Liverpool St Station. The pub is quite large, fairly new, and, surprisingly, makes an acceptable espresso.
How to eat?
The menu is structured into small plates and the idea is that you can help yourself to the pastry buffet and then order the small plates one by one. While I understand the business rationale to stretch out the feasting and also ensure that you only order what you are actually going to eat, it does mean that if you’re hungry you’ll either need to fill up on an almond croissant or two or pace yourself for about 30 minutes as you slowly nibble your way through the menu. I’d prefer if they offered up 2-3 plates to start and then move on to the 1 at a time concept.
That aside, let’s talk food.
Pastries: Selection was adequate with both regular and almond croissants, a pistachio muffin-type, cinnamon rolls, and a raisin studded scone/bun. Each one is massive (definitely worth sharing) and had a good flavour but were served chilled which was a bit off putting and detracted from the great potential they had.
The good small plates: My three favourite small plates were the cinnamon French toast with blueberries, the mini steak burger, and the avocado on toast. The French toast was soft and fluffy with a crispy crunchy cinnamon crust and had an excellent balance of sweetness and spiciness. The mini steak burger was really more a piece of steak in a slider bun and the two I had were grilled medium rare and bursting with meaty flavour. And who doesn’t like creamy avocado on a bit of toast? Although I think the egg was overcooked and it didn’t add anything to the dish.
The not so good plate: I wasn’t thrilled with the croquet monsieur given the distinct lack of cheesiness. It wasn’t bad, but a bit plain compared to the decadent monsieurs of Paris.
How about the drinks?
You have an option of red or white house wine, or Prosecco. Naturally we opted for the bubbles (we’re a Bubbly Boozy Bunch) and to be fair the quality of the Prosecco is pretty good. However, the refills were slow to come and at the start a number of people seemed to get missed. I imagine part of this was due to the size of the group so while I sympathize, each person was paying for the unlimited option and should get what they were promised. However, in all fairness, the manager did step in about halfway through and the speed of refills improved substantially.
Worth the dosh?
Yes. Despite the early hiccups, it was one of the better brunches we’ve tried out in terms of quality and value for money. Plus the split between food and drink means that you can include the non-boozy friends (everyone has at least one, right?) in your brunch outings!
Find Aubaine Broadgate here
38 Broadgate Circle, EC2M 1QS