run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Monday 13 November 2017

Review: family-friendly brunch at Eneko

 A big, someone-else-is-cooking brunch used to be *the* most relaxing start to a weekend. A lush cafe/restaurant, all the papers, a couple of hours, sunshine or a roaring fire, the occasional bottomless treat... It was just about still doable with one babe - if you scored nap-time bingo. But two? Nah. All the papers would be gummed by my baby, the sun / a fire are major danger zones, and a couple of hours grazing over brunch? We do well staying put in a restaurant for an half that time.

But this weekend we found Eneko: a spot with great-cooking, dramatic decor, relaxed, friendly staff, a great brunch, very sippable drinks - and surprisingly kid-friendly. I mean, this isn't Disney, don't expect a character breakfast - but it's part of the gorgeous five-star hotel One Aldwych, sits on the doorstep of Covent Garden and the Thames, for lots of post-meal fun, and had such relaxed, friendly staff who bent over backwards to make sure the toddler, his baby brother and their parents were happy - that it's a luxe family-friendly delight. 

When we ordered glam cocktails, Eneko's waiters nodded sagely in response to my request for a mocktail 'with 90% H2O' for tiny man: I know from experience that he takes my 'it's nice to share' edict very seriously when a wow-looking cocktail arrives, but that's one drink he can't sip. He loved the resultant sparkling water - orange - grenadine combo that arrived. Meanwhile, Winnie the Pooh colouring pages had arrived, and we were seated in a booth that gave our tiniest man (just five months) plenty of wriggling space. When my wannabe-chef two-year-old and I went to look at the open kitchen, tiny man was greeted like an old friend by the head chef, and even asked how he wanted his food cooked (don't get used to such service at home!) 
Eneko's food is from the Basque region - expect lots of meat (especially pork, and stand-out salty-grilled beef ribs), and Insta-perfect 'street food' style dishes like tempura yolks (so creamy), and basil-ly, tangy tacos heaped with heritage tomatoes and edible flowers. We opted for the four-course (£42, including hot drinks but it's another £20 for bottomless booze too) brunch. Following up those two street food-style dishes there was a grilled fish or meat option: duck, ribs or monkfish. My ribs slipped down easily and the chips were fantastic, as was a simple lettuce and onion salad that worked better than it sounds. 

Whilst far from cheap, our brunch felt like a really special occasion, and the two set menus - there's a £25/head three-course option as well as the pricier four-course extravaganza - offer decent value for such delicious and attractive cooking. 
Dessert was a particular spectacle - I opted for a rose marshmallow with strawberry sorbet, which arrived accompanied by a smoking, dry-ice-filled vase with a red rose. Tiny man's eyes nearly popped out in amazement as the firework-like dessert arrived. I'd ordered him a fruit salad (how much longer will I get away with the totally healthy options for the kids?!) but I did share a bit..


We were guests of Eneko for the purposes of this review, but rest assured all at ROOW are seriously gobby and only rave about places we really love. 

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