Brunch-to-go may sound casual, but in truth it’s an experience so fabulous, so involved, it can easily last an entire day. Especially once you add Bloody Marys, or a cheeky bottle of fizz to the mix. Better still: have BOTH!
It’s Sunday, late morning. In what seems a rare treat, sunshine floods our Georgian, rather opulent, drawing room. Though as the UV rays [ that we’ve prayed for ] meet skin, it’s fair to say this is a day where all five senses are being utterly dazzled.
There’s the heavenly aroma of fresh coffee, and pastry gently warming in the oven. The sight of a beautifully set table, obvs. A champagne cork popping, and the stirring sounds of a powerful soprano. One of Bach’s arias, I’m told. Totally getting the hype.
All of which creates the ideal setting for a brunch of legendary quality and proportions. It begins, quite righty, with alcohol, and is soon followed by Honey Greek yoghurt with homemade granola.
Topped with a superb mix of diced pineapple & melon, this is definitely a dish that’s more than the sum of its parts. We’re not even granola people, but the simplicity, freshness, and just the right amount of sweetness make it a gorgeous start.
We soon greedily move on, via another glass of champagne, to the rather tantalising Duo of salmon with Avruga caviar. Both au naturel and smoked, it couldn’t be fresher or more delicious.
Once again, such a simple dish, but squeeze a little lemon, scatter that wonderfully smoky caviar, and you have magic. We pause, just long enough to reflect on the joy we’re feeling. Not only is this a spread of the highest quality, it offers a real sense of occasion.
The lush mix of tastes, and many touches of luxury, make us feel as if we really are brunching at Astoria. Thank goodness we dressed for the occasion, we laugh, as we throw back yet another glass of bubbles.
Given the menu, it’s easy to imagine an impossibly handsome waiter bringing us each dish. His smile almost as breathtaking as his basket of warm pastries. Isaac mouths “call me” while I take the first magnificent bite into a soft buttery croissant.
It’s followed by an equally decadent pain au chocolat, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a rich, though suitably mellow blend of coffee. This really is heaven.
But it’s far from over. Our next stunning course: Drop scones with vanilla cream and berry compote. So named, because the batter is dropped from the spoon to the grill. Like a pancake but thicker, denser, and boasting both more egg and sugar.
No complaints here! We’re also loving the fact drop scones have slightly crispier edges. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the taste of something firm on the inside, but then so wonderfully soft within?
Warmed in the oven, then smothered with cream, berries, and in our case a teensy dash of maple syrup, they are a perfect pleasure. It also renders us in need of a small break, before embarking on the final leg of this epic brunch.
After more champagne / sunshine / opera, we are indeed craving the selection of Scottish cheeses. Howgate Brie, Strathdon Blue, and Arran Smoked Cheddar, all top notch, and devoured surprisingly quickly [ well, not that surprising ]
There’s also a selection of bread, fresh from the oven, as well as Salami, serrano ham, and roast honey ham – truly making this a meal that lasts the day.
The very definition of luxury, extravagance and indulgence, we cannot recommend brunch-to-go highly enough. Every bite, every flavour demonstrates genius. Top marks to the Astoria: close your eyes and eat, it’s just like being there.
In a nutshell:
Brunch Thursday to Sunday
Brunch for 2 people £49
With Bloody Marys £65
With champagne £79