Villandry St James, SW1

The first rule of BRUNCH CLUB is; you don’t talk about BRUNCH CLUB.

Except I do. Loads.  Just for you lovely lot, of course!

So, the other Saturday we embarked on the second task of our Herculean labour which is sampling all 16* of London’s best bottomless boozy brunches. This time we went to Villandry St James, between Piccadilly Circus and Charing X for their champagne brunch. Because champagne, obviously.

*NB I still refuse to go to the ones in the middle of nowhere. Dulwich, for example. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

The restaurant itself was more traditionally decorated than Avenue, but still beautiful with high, high ceilings. We booked a table for 2pm and were told that this would be a two hour booking which is fair enough. They started pouring the champagne straight away (approve) while we waited for the latecomer of the party (Vicky…) and considered the menu.

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^ Not as extensive as Avenue, but the good stuff is all on there and you choose a pastry as a kind-of-starter which was a nice touch and made it very ‘brunchy’ as opposed to just any old meal. Something we fully approve of here at BRUNCH CLUB.

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Almond croissant = winning! Would have been better warm, but we didn’t ask for it warm so can’t complain.

For main course we all ordered variations on the full English/veggie English. As I said earlier, the menu isn’t particularly extensive, but it is all breakfasty food which is really nice. My full English came without mushrooms but with avocado, Soph’s veggie breakfast came without mushrooms but with bacon (she’s the worst vegetarian in the world) and Vicky had the full English. Initially our waiter was a little grumpy about swapping items from the breakfasts, but we took this in our stride and just asked another waiter when he wasn’t looking and HEY PRESTO it arrived as we wanted (well, mostly). They ballsed up Vicky’s initially and brought her a veggie breakfast (the look of horror on her face at the lack of meat was truly comical), but when we told them they rustled up a new one pretty quick and knocked some money off the bill so we weren’t complaining.

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For those of your wondering if avocado goes with a full English breakfast, the answer is yes. Yes, yes and thrice yes. My first full English (I KNOW) and it was delicious – salty bacon (maybe slightly too thick cut), tasty sausage, juicy tomatoes, slightly spicy posh beans, creamy avocado to smush on my toast and two perfect poached eggs. Phwoar.

And of course all of that went perfectly with the gallon and a half of champagne we put away. Obviously.

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For pudding (THEY DID PUDDING! TOTALLY WASN’T EXPECTING THAT!) we had a super selection of little cakes and tarts, like half an afternoon tea! An orange macaroon, wonderfully decadent chocolate thingummibob (technical term), lemon tart (yum!), miniscule, non-messy Eton mess (Eton tidy?) and caramel pecan tart. I loved everything, with the exception of the pecan tart, which I found too bitter, though the others loved it so it may just have been the order that I ate them in, or too much champagne, or whatever.

Discussing the merits of this brunch vs other brunch (I can see this getting more complicated as time goes on…) we decided that the drinks were certainly better at Villandry (prosecco vs champagne = no contest, and for £40 a head FOR THE ENTIRE MEAL it was an utter freaking bargain), the menu at Avenue was more extensive BUT the food at Villandry was as good, if not better, than what we had at Avenue. So there you go, Readers, our considered opinion. And consider it we did. Verrrrrry carefully. And we had plenty of time to do it, as despite the table only officially being ours for 2 hours we actually had more like 4 hours. That is a LOT of champagne, which made for a thoroughly pleasant, lazy afternoon and a very happy brunch club!

The afternoon in NO WAY ended with us all drinking gin-in-a-tin on the underground like reprobates on the way to various parties. Nope.

ps – we’d like to give a HUGE shoutout to the couple on the table next to us, who kept us entertained by having an epic argument over the course of an hour, before the woman got up and stormed off, leaving her partner there to drown his sorrows in champagne. Tip top stuff!

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