BLIXEN, SPITALFIELDS MARKET

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There wasn’t room on the table for everything we ordered at Blixen. The waiter actually did a double take on finding our last dish on the pass and felt compelled to confer with another that we actually had ordered it. Two relatively unassuming girls, one even sporting gym kit, couldn’t possibly have ordered four dishes between them… I’m only slightly ashamed to say, we did.

Blixen is yet another restaurant that has been catapulted to the top of the must-visit brunch spots in London thanks to many mentions in London publications of late. The press have gone bonkers for brunch too and I love it.

The restaurant is really rather handsome with striking windows and a grown-up, gentlemanly, nautical feel. The grand main dining room boasts majestic high ceilings, a ‘Gatsby-esque’ glittering bar and cleverly apportioned seating spaces that ensure no table feels particularly hemmed in. That’s not to mention the lovely little cubbies under the garden canopy that leads onto the bar which offer a charming contrast and intimacy to their palatial counterpart.

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However, I shan’t labour too much on the design, I haven’t turned estate agent after all. It’s become a nasty habit we have to justify extraordinary orders under the pretext of just tasting a little of a few things, and when we’re sharing between us, what’s the harm? Who knows if we’ll be back, we better try while we’re here. We won’t eat it all anyway, just taste bits and bobs… Wrong. That’s an outright lie. There was precious little left when we’d finished.

We ordered a portion of porridge and a portion of granola, both with all the trimmings, the potato rosti with salt beef, poached egg and mustard hollandaise and, to round off the feast, a portion of toasted banana bread with whipped vanilla butter.

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Savoury things first, the salt beef was really rather special, as was the hollandaise. Personally, I can always give or take a rosti. They don’t really float my boat and I pretty much see them as a vehicle for the yummy stuff and as a general rule I’d rather have some toast do the same job even if, I admit, it would make for a far less dainty dish.

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Porridge and granola for seconds. I can’t vouch personally for the granola although it looked generously laden with hazelnuts which is always a good sign. The porridge was the prettiest dish of the day although, on balance, probably the least remarkable. The cranberry and apple compote was perhaps the best of the bunch in terms of toppings since, although all look rather lovely, none were particularly tasty. What’s more, despite the considerable window dressing, nothing could disguise the rather dry, lack-lustre porridge below.

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Finally, the banana bread which wiped the floor with the lot. Even though it was the last dish we rounded on, it was miraculously still warm and toasty. Wickedly squidgy and sweet, even more so when smothered in vanilla butter, this little bake was divine and a steal at £3.50 a portion. I’m not quite sure when whipped butter became the latest trend but, from what I’ve experienced so far, I thoroughly approve.

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My only regret was not ordering a portion of pancakes although that would have been outrageous gluttony. I tend to shy away from them because more often than not they’re nothing special but we were in prime position not far from the kitchen to see countless portions whisk past and it would appear that there’s more to these pancakes than the menu can tell. They look delicious.

Over all, Blixen makes a perfect spot from which to begin an assault on the markets around. Very civilised and as dainty or excessive as you make it, brunch here is a solid seven out of ten. Maybe that’s harsh… the banana bread might just nudge it up to an eight.

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