Thursday, 28 July 2011

Best breakfasts: Bistro du Vin, Clerkenwell (now closed)

It was bit of a 'what defines brunch?' moment at the new Bistro du Vin in Clerkenwell... the handsome new brasserie offers a substantial weekend brunch menu from 11am-3pm, and owing to the timing offers some lunchy dishes as well as breakfasty ones.

Overwhelmed by the range of choices, we had an outrageous three courses (although renowned Kiwi brunch chef Anna Hansen, of Modern Pantry tell me multiple courses at brunch is perfectly normal - phew).

The now-accepted brunch formula of a cocktail (read, hair-of-the-dog) starter, is a punchy beginning, with a choice of Bloody Mary, French 75, Bellini or Chase Marmalade Vodka Martini (£9-£10). Then there's fresh oysters for the brave (my dining partner), served natural, with shallot vinegar or Tabasco (£2.75 each for Cornish, £2.95 Maldon), and a neat stack of English Asparagus showered with pea shoots, butter and parmesan for me. Both were fresh, flavoursome and attractively presented.

There are egg dishes to please the breakfast-leaning brunchers, plus a Full English and range of waffles of which the restaurant is very proud, with sweet and savoury options. We went more lunchy with a freshly-made ham and florentina tortellini (£13.95), which was sumptuous, and Belted Galloway sirloin steak with chips (£26 & £3.50). It was perfectly cooked and generous.

Pudding went back to breakfast... cornflake ice cream (made with cornflake-soaked milk so no bits), which was another hit, and bizarrely nostalgic (£2.50).

The bistro has a fresh, lively feel with plenty of light at the front tables and a more intimate feel against the leather banquettes at the back. The wood floor, canopy front and high zinc stools at the bar offer a bistro-feel, added to by French posters and memorabilia on the walls.

Try this place for a hearty, simple brunch/lunch with a touch of French flair.

More London breakfast spots

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