7 November 2015

A friendly brunch at The Alice House, Queen's Park

Back in the day, when I used to live in West Hampstead, I drunkenly visited the West End Lane branch of The Alice House for a few cocktails before hitting the town. I'd never actually sampled their food, nor had I visited their sister branch in Queen's Park. And you know I'm not one to turn down brunch...

I also love, love, LOVE, north-west London. It's suburban without being boring, and has loads of little gems, whether that be food stalls, parks, bars and eateries.

I challenge you to get lost finding this spot. I'd never got out of the tube at Queen's Park and this place is literally 20 metres to the left of the station. And the outside looks pretty, which is always promising.

We were greeted super enthusiastically, and at 10:30am on a Saturday morning it was quiet enough to pick from a fair few tables. We chose one next to the window - for good lighting, obviously - and set to work planning our epic feast.

We started with a good cup of coffee, because obviously.

I was momentarily gutted that my soya cappuccino didn't have a lovely, foamy heart, but once I saw the menu any disappointment was gone. Because LOOK.

Burford brown eggs... sourdough toast... sussex tomatoes & tarragon... buckweat pancakes... potato cakes, spiced peaches... it all sounded so very delicious.

So delicious that we decided to dedicate ourselves to the cause and order a sweet and savoury dish each *rubs thighs in anticipation*. This was clearly a bold move, because two of the waitresses on shift commented, separately, that we were their heroes. Not too much pressure, then.

I started with poached eggs on sourdough toast with a side of bacon, and my friend went for the eggs benny.

We were big fans of the crockery (my plate was prettier than my friends, she was jealous).

Unfortunately this dish wasn't a winner for me, as the eggs were lukewarm and one of the yolks wasn't runny - sob - but the bacon was crisp and salty, so I piled that up on the toast, too. My friend was a big fan of her dish, however. We were told the ham was literally house-cured (as in, on site) which is a fun nugget of knowledge to mull over as you stuff your face.

Another coffee and juice later (my friend went for grapefruit and orange, I bravely opted for the beetroot, ginger and apple), out came our sweet dishes.

And oh mumma, they were a sight to behold...

Oh ma gaaaaad.

Okay, so let me tell you about my dish, because it was *the* bomb. It's the Spiced peaches, cobnuts and organic cream on brioche. Not mentioned on the menu, but I suspect the peaches had some syrupy, cinnamon glaze on them. Guys, it was heaven in my mouth. The brioche was ever so slightly cakey and crumbly, and the peaches were beautiful. And then the cream made it rich but not too sweet and the cobnuts (which I likened to pecans) gave it a lil added texture. Oh my life. So so good. It more than made up for my previous course; it knocked it out of the (Queen's) park. Corrrr.

Here's a close up, cus I'm naughty like that.

Absolutely filthy and delicious. One of the best things on a brunch menu I've ever come across.

Suitably fed and watered, we went on to a cultural trip to the V&A (the Pleasure and Pain shoe exhibition is definitely worth a visit, FYI), then did a touristy Ghost Bus tour just off Trafalgar Square which was an absolute RIOT.

This spot is definitely a great place to start the day, away from the tourist mecca that is Central London. I should also mention that the service was exceptional - everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there, with lots of smiles and suggestions and small-talk. GO VISIT and for goodness sake, order the peaches.

*My meal was complimentary in exchange for review, but as always any opinions expressed are my own.

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