Easter Weekend Brunching

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
― A.A. Milne

A four day weekend meant that we got to get out and spend some time exploring the city with reduced crowds, since a surprising amount of the population heads elsewhere on holiday. The weather is just starting to turn to spring and daylight savings time kicked in so the light lasts long enough to get your vitamin D back on track after months of deprivation. We needed to get out, we needed to do something nice. In short, we needed brunch.

We headed to Grainger & Co. in Notting Hill, a place I’ve wanted to try for ages due to it’s reputation for Ricotta Hotcakes. Because, obviously!

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There are no reservations at this location, and there is normally a huge wait, but thanks to the holiday, we were seated in about 20 minutes. I’ve seen some tourists completely lose their cool over a wait time like that, but for plenty of Londoners that’s a breeze! You spend time talking, you gauge the menu, you chat with the people in line, you charm the staff so they provide you regular updates, you enjoy yourself. We’ve slowed our eating time since moving abroad, and it’s been much for the better.

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I geeked out irrationally over the hot chocolate, made with actual chocolate and milk that you mix together for yourself and sweeten (or not) as you see fit. The last time I had a pot made thus I was in Brussels, so it was a welcome treat to put together.

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A major joy of a long weekend is lack of makeup (minus lipstick of course) and headband you pretend are “workout chic” fashionable.

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Ricotta hotcakes, kids. Don’t just walk, run.

Pancakes as we think of them have only recently started worming their way into Britain. What they think of as pancakes is far closer to crepes in the American view, so occasionally I get a craving that typically cannot be fulfilled without substantial effort on my part (since I’ve only found buttermilk sold in a single store in hilariously small quantities). It’s bothersome, but it gives me a chance to explore when something like this comes along. These hotcakes are fluffy and light but still manage to have a slightly dense and pleasantly chewy aspect to them due to the ricotta. They are incredibly filling, topped with honeycomb butter, and sing when topped with maple syrup (also not terribly find-able in London).

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Jeff went for the “Full Aussie” breakfast which, according to Jeff, is an improvement on the Full English. Either way, I can attest that the sourdough toast is amazing and I have no idea how they get their eggs looking like that but it tastes pretty darn good.

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After brunch we decided to wander Hyde Park a bit and even though some of the trees were still a bit bare…

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Others were over winter.

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But the real highlight was seeing what was in the trees! Several years ago some parakeets escaped captivity and took up residence. Today, they can be found in all the major London parks! I’m sure there’s a valid conversation to be had about invasive species, but I can’t help be be delighted to have finally glimpsed these jewel toned birds finally.


8 thoughts on “Easter Weekend Brunching”

  1. I’m surprised to hear maple syrup isn’t easy to find in London. I’m British and love maple syrup — I usually buy mine from M&S, but I don’t have a problem finding it elsewhere. Even the cheap supermarkets like Morrisons sell it. I agree about buttermilk though….that is hard to find, and I much prefer American pancakes! 🙂

    1. Ha! I’ll tell you what the problem is, I live south of the River and all nearly all M&S are north! 😉

      I found maple syrup at whole foods once…but I confess I blanched at the price! There is also an international aisle at the local Tesco where I’ve spotted it on occasion, but not regularly. Teach me your syrup finding ways! I might just be lost!

  2. Can you really not find buttermilk? Granted, I live in Wimbledon, with easy access to lots of really big supermarkets, but even the normal sized Sainsbury’s and the Tesco Metro down the road from me usually carry it. It’s only a 300 ml container, but that’s more than adequate for a batch of pancakes or American style biscuits (which is what I usually use it for), or if you’re really in a pinch, sour(ed) cream works well in place of buttermilk in pancakes. At any rate, those ricotta hotcakes look delicious! 🙂

    1. You are the second person to tell me this, and I begin to suspect I might be an idiot…but I have combed my Tesco for it more than once, I swear! I’ll give the sour cream a try, though, thanks.

      1. I don’t think you’re an idiot! I find the supermarkets in London can be weirdly local, despite being chains…I’m a member of this expats in London group on facebook, and it seems like people can never find stuff I can get at most of my local supermarkets. I think there’s more Americans around SW and West London, so maybe that’s why? More demand?

  3. Can you find lemon juice? I always end up making my buttermilk for pancakes because I don’t use it generally. You add the lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit. As someone who craves pancakes regularly, I hope you find a solution!

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