On a normal weekend I don’t leave the house before noon, but when Leanne for Broke In The Big Smoke invited me along to Hard Rock Cafe‘s first ever brunch at 10am I knew I couldn’t let my laziness get in the way of such an awesome experience.
Already caffeinated, I hopped off the train and took the quick walk from Green Park to join a queue of equally enthustaic foodies. Soon we were greeted by our host and taken to our comfortable window booth, which allowed us a great view of the rest of the restaurant.
Though I tend to navigate towards independent restaurants, Hard Rock is one of the few chains I continue to get exited about. When I first moved to London, Pablo and I had almost no disposable income so, for my birthday we saved up and treated ourselves to a large meal and a couple of cocktails at the rock themed eatery. Since then The Hard Rock Cafe has held a special place in my heart reminding me how far we have both come during our 5 years in London and also how we stuck together – even in tough times.
I also love the fact that the London branch is where the Hard Rock brand began. Back in 1971, Americans Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett couldn’t find a good burger in the city so they decided to open up their own place to the dismay of their upmarket neighbours. The decor began as eclectic and rock themed but it only started the now famous memorabilia collection in 1979 when Eric Clapton donated a guitar, which then promoted Pete Townshend of The Who to do the same; and so the tradition began.
The collection has grown extensively throughout the world making each branch feel like you are eating in a rock themed museum.
Always expanding their now huge brand, Hard Rock’s new brunch menu comes in at £29.95 per head and includes unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Marys, tea, coffee, juice and American style breakfast served on sociable sharing platters.
Getting over the shock at the generous menu our waiter, Dan, came over to introduce himself, took our drinks order and let us know that the food would start coming out between 10.30-10.45 which gave us time to catch up, enjoy our first mimosa and have a wander around the restaurant’s collection of memorabilia.
Just as the food began to hit the tables, A.J Moore and his band took to the stage and kept us entertained with covers of rock classics. The live music heightened the upbeat atmosphere and made brunch feel like a celebration.
The first platter was dropped off at the table and was made up of sweet freshly made pancakes, a warm fruit compote, a lightly toasted bagel and a trio of toppings including maple syrup, whipped butter and salmon cream cheese with pickles.
Next up was what I could only describe as a meat feast, with southern fried chicken waffles, chipolata sausages, crispy bacon and cowboy beans.
They didn’t leave us vegetarians out – a platter of grilled veg (including amazing smokey paprika mushrooms), grilled courgette, plum tomatoes, waffles and crunchy southwest potatoes.
At this point I was beyond full but our third and final platter was yet to come.
Described as baked eggs, the steaming hot dish was similar to a Spanish style tortilla filled with chunks of potato, red peppers, spinach and melted feta, topped off with grilled courgette and parmesan sprinkles.
The eggs were my favourite dish and though packed with flavour I could only fit in a couple of bites due to fear that I would explode from over eating.
The two hour brunch flew by and all too soon the band announced it was time to leave. Although our time was up we were not rushed and waiter Dan popped back over for a chat and to see if we had enjoyed ourselves. I love the staff at Hard Rock as they are chatty and enthusiastic but know the level not so as not to intrude on your dining experience.
There is always going to be small teething problems with the first run of any high volume dining, but apart from a couple of tiny timing issues (which I am sure they will iron out) the staff handled the full room effectively and the kitchen served up masses of high quality food.
The Hard Rock Brunch gave a full American experience with energetic and charming staff serving up mammoth portions of homely dishes. The shared eating style, music and team made all guests feel relaxed and was one of the most fun breakfasts I have ever had the pleasure of sampling.
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