Brunch; isn’t brunch wonderfully indulgent? The fashionable younger cousin of prim and proper breakfast and steady-as-a-rock lunch, brunch instead offers diners the chance to be frivolous and steer the curve of convention away from the traditional three meals a day. A perfect weekend treat, there is only way one brunch could possibly get better; by making it a bottomless Prosecco brunch of course! When our parents treated my sister and I to a bottomless Prosecco brunch voucher at Villandry in London’s upper crust St James, we couldn’t wait to book our table and enjoy a fizz-fueled twin date.
Villandry’s St James branch certainly sets the tone for a luxurious treat meal; even its exterior screams classy polish with its contoured white stonework, smooth columns and decorative arches above the windows. Already feeling vaguely glamorous, we entered the restaurant and were quickly shown to a corner booth with post-box red leather cushions and windows either side to catch the morning rays. Once we were nice and comfy, we were presented with our menus. I was astounded and instantly chuffed that our brunch would in fact be a three-course affair, adding to the laziness of eating mid-morning, and our bottomless Prosecco would run for two hours. Luckily for my sister and I, we arrived a good 25 minutes early for our table, so I’m pretty sure we were able to smuggle in a few additional glasses of fizzy goodness.
So, first things first, we started our brunch with a pastry round, where we were able to pick from a choice of pastries to have one each as a starter of sorts. While the twin instantly opted for an almond croissant, I was more hesitant as I toyed between a pain au chocolat and a pain au raisin. The chocolate won out in the end and we placed our first round order as the Prosecco continued to be poured. Our pastries were brought to the table in a wicker bread-basket lined with a napkin, and these were certainly not the disappointing mini pastries that clutter breakfast meetings across the city. Oh no, these were full-sized, buttery and crumbly all in one flaky crunch. The chocolate streams in the centre of my pastry were wonderfully dark and chunky, adding a gorgeous yet not overbearing sweet punch to the pastry, which was soft and sheet-like on the inside, yet golden on the outside. My sister loved the gooey centre of her almond croissant and we both were very happy with how brunch was kicking off.
For mains, so to speak, we went for quite different options but allowed us to graze at each other’s too! I decided to try something different, so I ordered the sourdough toast that was topped with fresh spinach leaves, pools of mashed avocado and two pert poached eggs as round as tidy ice cream scoops. A joy to pop and have the yolk cascading messily over my greenery. The sourdough toast was cut slightly thicker than usual and had the tones of wholemeal bread, the glossy spinach adding a fresh hit that paired nicely with the thick and creamy avocado. The eggs helped to combine all of the separate ingredients by oozing over everything in the most satisfying way. My twinny ordered pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, and I have to say I was instantly jealous and green with food envy rather than too much avocado. Her pancakes were large, fluffy and delectable, the bacon tasty although there wasn’t much of it compared to the size of the pancakes. Her maple syrup was in a side dip dish, allowing us to dip and pool as we wished. Luckily, there was plenty of it. We were also a wee bit naughty and ordered an extra side dish too, but as soon as I saw mention of truffle, I’m afraid I was sunk. The Villandry Aspen fries are a magic concoction of skinny fries tossed in white truffle oil and Parmesan, two of my favourite flavours. Needless to say, these were divine. I’m not usually a fan of skinny fries however the additional flavours on these bad boys had me scooping them up with gusto. Definitely clean plates all round.
Our last round was dessert in the form of a cake plate. This was basically like the top tier of an afternoon tea as each of us was presented with a small white plate showcasing a collection of five miniature cakes on a decorative zig-zag drizzle of raspberry coulis. Sitting pretty in the centre was a neat cube of rich chocolate brownie that was still warm, wonderfully dense and dusted with icing sugar. A turquoise macaroon glued together with a sticky fruity centre was also quickly devoured, soon followed by bright pink raindrop shape of meringue, which had that soft and chewy centre paired with a crunchy outer shell. The mini lemon meringue pie was so precise, with a tidy, tiny fluted pie crust, spoldge of lemon curd in the middle and a neat pearl of grilled meringue on top. Finally, our last cake was a choux profiterole type cake, filled with a light vanilla creme patisserie and a very unusual forest green decoration on top. I have no idea what it was but the whole bun was delightful and may even have been my favourite cake of the lot. Small and neat, these cakes easily hit our sweet spot after having a main meal but didn’t overfill us, which was ideal.
And throughout all of this scoffing and admiring, we were slowly but surely getting squiffy. The waiting staff are very attentive with the Prosecco, which if you’ve paid the extra money to go bottomless ensures you get your money’s worth, otherwise you might as well have just ordered a glass. I don’t think our flutes ever went under half full, so I have no idea how much we drank. Sometimes it would be topped up after just a few sips. It all added to the sheer luxury of the experience and it was wonderful having the light, sweet and fizzy Prosecco with our meal; it really was the ideal accompaniment.
Although our bottomless Prosecco brunch was bought for us as a gift voucher, I would love to go back again and try all the foody bits I didn’t get round to; and drink more Prosecco of course! Villandry’s weekend brunch menu is £25 per person, with an additional £15 per person if you want to go bottomless, so it does make quite a different yet affordable way to meet up with friends, as you would probably spend that amount on a dinner and drinks anyway.
We loved our bottomless Prosecco brunch and I can’t wait to go again. Fingers crossed I receive another gift voucher… *nudge nudge*…