NoMad's Weekend Brunch
Dining at NoMad Restaurant has been a conversation for some time now. So naturally, the yes came easy when my hands got tied up with a brunch request.
NoMad Restaurant sits subterranean within its namesake The NoMad Hotel London—a five-star hotel opposite the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. And the hotel and restaurant have seen much chatter since it opened in 2021.
And if those old walls could talk, they too would have newspaper reels of stories to retell of some of its more famous inmates—this building, formerly the residence of Bow Street Magistrates' Court and Police Station.
It is therefore agreed that discussions regarding Oscar Wilde and Augusto Pinochet and the reasons for them being inside these said walls may be too heavy for the stomach lining, as we take our seats.
Instead we talk Brunch, a portmanteau coined from the words breakfast and lunch, and the halfway house that it is between breakfast and lunch.
Eleven o'clock is the earliest you can sit for brunch in NoMad. On a Saturday morning, I'm up just in time to get ready and get to the restaurant for then. It also means a single cup of coffee fuels me. Insufficient to get the 'all of me' going, take in what is happening around me. And although it is the earliest seating, brunch is packing out and conversations are more than a hush. Don't Londoners know how to lie-in?
Our waiter realises we need help, so he unmasks our menu from under the napkins.
I'm straight to it—something to fuel the breakfast I've missed and fuel me past lunch. It is still too early in the day to be taking decisions on Sides, Snacks and Starters, Raw Bar, Pastries and Mains, so we go direct to Eggs. The pork confit catches interest and so does the smoked salmon and that's what we ordered. First, the Breakfast Burrito and an Avocado Toast with smoked salmon.
And because we were celebrating, an Adonis from the Classic Cocktail list and a Peter Piper from the Soft Cocktail menu.
It was the passion fruit juice that called out on the latter. And by the time I'd had the first hit of the sip of my Peter Piper, the slight tartness of the passion fruit kicked a tap into my toes. Another sip and the black pepper untied me. Sufficiently untied I can do a little shimmy of the shoulders to LTD's 'Back In Love', funk house remix coming out of the speakers. Another sip and I was near having a full groove coming on. I pause the sipping, wanting to avoid ending up on the tables. Neither was it the time, place or conversation I'd like to be starting.
On the Adonis, I had expectations of a very handsome presentation. Though reserved in its display, its taste was a full-on trip down memory lane to a rum liqueur made on Montserrat called Perks Punch. Its even got the same caramel colour. The vermouth di Torino and sherry give it a warm sweetness and chai and orange bitters just a little tap at the bottom of the belly.
Sufficiently alive now, I take notice of the surroundings. Lots of green and greenery throughout, it is soothing. Miniature citrus trees flaunt their wares at eye level, (I am tempted to harvest a few) but recall the hotel retains a few cells. While I may want to see my name in lights, this isn't it. Instead I draw my eyes upwards to the hanging ferns and glass ceiling, where whatever there was of London's winter light poured in on all of us. Here too, the servers come on duty in dark blazers, black jeans and white trainers serving a mixed but primarily young crowd.
It is an Instagram hot-spot and I think any seat running along the centre, especially those at either end of that central row is enviable. But here's a great photo tip, some of the best pics are taken from the ground floor above the restaurant.
Our server Arush is back and with our plates. He's clearly not suffering from any hangover as he has done nothing but grace us with his smile and energy all morning. Whatever he has had for breakfast, I want it. And I am hoping it was a Breakfast Burrito because it is what I ordered.
'Too Much' by Mark Ronson and Lucky Daye is oozing out of the speakers all the weekend vibes, filling my head with some smooth funk and I like it.
I am straight into the pork confit. Rich and flavoursome, it melts in my mouth. Sufficient to put a smile on. Stuffed with eggs, potato, cheese, avocado and salsa made for a great breakfast alternative. Halfway through the other half of burrito, I am singing 'Too Much' for all the wrong reasons. And though I am feeling full, I finish it, leaving nothing but a few salad leaves decorating my white plate. Still, a bit more titillation from the salsa or anything else would have been just right.
Over on Avocado Toast, a poached egg spews its runny middle over crushed avocado under smoked salmon.
Do you know when you know it's good? It's when lips continue to move but the conversation pauses. Here again, another helping of chilli flakes would have made this perfect for me. Though it was not my dish, found it was delectable and filling.
Towards, the end we're offered pastries and though a Pistachio Paris-Brest catches my attention, I decline. I'm offered coffee too, this I also decline. For that I get eyes questioning me. But we leave that there.
Compared to my first brunch outing in 2021 (you may read about it here), this experience (exclusive of the other) was sedate. But we were here for the venue, for the space.
The atmosphere of brunch inside NoMad Restaurant is a micro cluster of calm and leisure, contrasting with the busy and concrete that is its immediate location. The food, service and certainly the space is the attraction here. It being such a great way to spend a Saturday morning, I now know why NoMad's weekend brunch continues to garner interest and conversation.
And if brunch rolls long you can always stay for dinner. And if after dinner, still fancy a bar and the night life without the crowd see Side Hustle and Common Decency another two restaurants and bars inside The NoMad Hotel. And if the all day soirée takes its toll, there are elegant rooms up the stairs to book yourself into.
Has the NoMad chatter reached you? Would you consider their weekend brunch?
Great for: Instagram hotspot, Groups of six, Brunch celebrations, Dates you want to impress
Location: 8 Bow St, London WC2E 7AW