DIY Bloody Mary at Bellanger, Islington
Sunday brunch has to be one of my best-loved meals – combine it with a good Bloody Mary like the one at Bellanger and I’m sold.
Bellanger is the Islington outpost of the Corbin & King Empire, owners of The Wolseley, Brasserie Zédel and others, with a desirable position in Islington overlooking the green. Inspired by Alsatian brasseries of Paris’ past, it oozes French charm with a certain German feel in the mix. The long mirrored bar is surrounded by booths, banquettes and tables with an alfresco eating area at the front.
Sunday morning and Bellanger was busy and bustling, full of families and of friends enjoying the understated glamour it provides.
I was invited to try out their “Sunday Bloody Mary Brunch’, featuring a Bloody Mary bar and held on the first Sunday of the month from the beginning of October. What makes this rather more exciting than your average brunch is that as well as being given a choice of four Grey Goose cocktails you can also get in touch with your creative side and create your very own DIY Bloody Mary, learning how to infuse it with all your favourite spices and flavours.
Company bar manager Wilson guided me and my friend and helped us create our own versions. I was rather pleased with mine which was a great mix of PX sherry, chilli, cumin, olive tapenade, horseradish, Dijon mustard, green tabasco – (sweet and more herbaceous than the red), Himalayan salt, a dash lime and grey goose classic. My friend opted for the fino sherry mixed with grey goose citron plus the spices.
Wilson explained how they had sourced their fresh tomato juice, made especially for their London bars and restaurants by Turner and Hardy on the Isle of Wight. It was notably fresh and smooth and added that certain je ne sais quoi.
Brunch turned out to be an elegant affair, a choice of all the classics but with a little more indulgence thrown in for good measure.
Eggs with everything, of course, I chose to have my favourite – eggs Benedict, which was wholly satisfying with perfectly crisp bacon and creamy hollandaise on plump muffins, accompanied by French fries. My friend went for the less traditional and rather more glamorous option of the lobster omelette “Bennett’ which was full of delicious tender chunks of lobster.
There were plenty more tempting options including eggs Portobello, eggs Arlington, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, croque Monsieur and croque Madame – (with a fried egg), chicken schnitzel sandwich, terrine of Dorset crab with avocado, tomato and sourdough and of course, the in-vogue avocado and poached egg.
The service was impeccable, wonderfully friendly and efficient whilst still allowing guests the time to sit and enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning.
Bellanger certainly added a little laid back glamour to my Sunday morning. And of course, there are plenty more culinary dishes to try for both lunch and dinner, so I might well be back rather soon!
On Sunday 3rd December, Bellanger will be hosting its third Bloody Mary Brunch. Booking is strongly advised.
London N1 2XH
Hours: 8am -11.30pm
Phone: 020 7226 2555