I learned about the power of Twitter recently when I was planning a trip to London. While I’ve visited the city a handful of times, I’ve never successfully satisfied my London brunch craving. My London trip coincided with my birthday, and I thought there was no better time to explore a new neighborhood and indulge in a special brunch.
Where to begin looking? The easy answer is my fellow travel and food writers, who quickly responded with various suggestions. A ‘retweet’ or two later from foodies eager to share their London knowledge, and I had a page full of local recommendations. Twitter is almost like having a friend in every city in the world.
Now I had a place to begin. A few restaurants were recommended by more than one writer, so I began my hunt there. I then narrowed the list down by neighborhood, access to the Tube, and sample menus online. This kind of preparation for a restaurant visit only heightens my anticipation: I was looking forward not only to the food, but strolling along Portobello Road through Notting Hill and browsing through the nearby travel bookstore and antique shops.
When you take a recommendation, there’s always a chance you are going to be supremely disappointed. This couldn’t of been farther from the truth the moment I stepped into Electric Brasserie: the sharply-dressed staff was welcoming and led the way through the buzzing restaurant to a free table right next to the open kitchen.
People have different opinions on an open kitchen, but I love them. Before I even glanced at the menu I was tempted by the dishes being passed from chef to waiter right before my eyes. An open kitchen indulges all the senses: a burst of fragrance, a beautiful arrangement on the plate, a smile on the face of a satisfied chef. It took a few moments before I could focus on the varied menu in front of me.
While we decided, the bartender prepared my white peach bellini. Sipping my refreshing drink I realized the appeal of Electric Brasserie is not only the comfortable atmosphere and cool factor, but the presence of an option for every appetite on the menu. This solved one of the ultimate problems of trying to plan a brunch for a group of people: where can one person get poached eggs, and another a steak? Electric Brasserie took this concept a step further, and also offers small plates and options to share for two (beyond their regular brunch menu, starters, and tempting mains).
I walked in with a sweet tooth, and wound up being distracted by the mains on the counter next to me. We started with 1/2 dozen wild Colchester oysters: an ideal pairing for a celebratory occasion. After snacking on some hummus and flat bread, we broke open a bottle of Argentine wine to accompany our mains. I chose the sirloin steak sandwich with caramelised onion rings & gruyere: a gooey and satisfying afternoon treat.
Desserts were just as seductive with options including vanilla pannacotta with blood orange and chocolate fudge brownie with pistachio ice cream. Afterwards, the Notting Hill neighborhood is a picturesque spot for an afternoon stroll.
For me, Electric Brasserie struck the perfect balance between casual and trendy, lively and intimate, and that hard to find ‘something for everyone’ menu. Thank you to my fellow ‘tweeps’ for a wonderful recommendation – my foodie birthday brunch in London is one I won’t soon forget!