Pot Kettle Black - Manchester
These are served up hot with smoked mozzarella, tomato and pecorino with a side of toasted sourdough. Mark is one of those annoying people who always orders the dish you wish you'd got. And this one was a prime example.
I opted for the poached eggs and avocado. A standard brunch selection, but it far exceeded expectations. These eggs were cooked to perfection, with a kick of chilli and a refreshing burst of citrus and bazil.
Our smoothies were a scrummy accompaniment. My Banana Oats smoothie was blended with milk, yoghurt, honey and cinammon. Thick, sweet and a real treat. Mark's Super Green consisted of spinach, avo, pineapple, banana, and orange juice. Did someone say 5 a day?!
Located in Barton Arcade in Deansgate, this place is perfect pre-shopping on a weekend. We sat outside (purely because of how packed it was inside), but the café itself is contemporary, with Nordic interiors and reclaimed wood floorboards. This list is in no particular order, but I must admit, I wrote this one first for a reason...
Ox Club at Headrow House - Leeds
Its rustic design and Scandinavian interiors.
I stumbled across this place initially on Instagram and it didn’t disappoint. It was a really wet day in Leeds when we turned the corner to the Ox Club, umbrella in hand, appetite worked up. And the setting is one you won’t forget. In fact, it’s definitely one of my top instagrammable discoveries. The décor inside is equally as photogenic. The walls are decorated with gorgeous macramé hangers (I later found the Stich-Up shop nestled in Thorntons Arcade) and plants peek out from behind white walls. Quite rightly, the Ox Club has their name in (neon) lights on the outside and entrance of the building.
The menu itself is quirky, with an eclectic mix of origins and ingredients. This place is an overall feast for the senses. And you'll leave satisfied.
Whyte & Brown - London
A brunch that's more of a lunch.
Situated in Kingly Court - sandwiched between Carnaby Street and Regent Street, Whyte & Brown's breakfast menu will keep you going for hours. Their motto, 'let us help kick start your day', couldn't be more accurate. In fact, it'll kick you right through to the evening - and that's coming from a serial snacker.
The bacon and fried egg brioche bun is a sight to behold. Bursting at the seams with spicy rocket and W&B's homemade tomato relish. I washed mine down with a berry blast smoothie. The healthy sidekick to a very hefty breakfast hero. Visit on a Sunday for an extra extensive menu.
Ernest - Newcastle
Now, I am proud to present myself as a bit of a Bloody Mary connoisseur. And I don't deal in compliment sluttery. So, when I remarked to the Ernest staff that my Bloody Mary was the best I'd ever had, they can rest assured I meant it.
If you still need convincing (and if so, I'm not sure we can be friends), the food is delish. My poachies were cooked to perfection, garnished with crunchy, salty chorizo, crisp rocket and a thick, creamy Hollandaise sauce. Truthfully, it left me wanting more. And not due to a shy portion size, just a pure unadulterated greed spurred by the salt, spice and savoury taste sensation.
It's cool here, indie, arty and it knows it. But you'll feel at home amongst local people, local coffee and local produce. Comfort food, done spot on.
Albert's Schloss - Manchester
Albert's Schloss is most famous for being a German beer hall, but don't let that put you off. I'd been before for their (extortionate but exquisite) cocktails and would never have considered them for brunch. But after salivating over their Instagram feed - packed with perfect poachies and foodie flatlays on a weekend - I immediately added it to my brunch wishlist.
The menu itself is quite limited in terms of quantity, but the options themselves are unusual and packed with ingredients.
Between the four of us we sampled the Broke'n English Sandwich: consisting of broken egg yolk, treacle cured bacon, cheddar, avocado and red chilli jam packed into a soft roll. The Avocado Toast with a side of bacon: sweet chilli jam, smashed avo and poachies on sourdough. And the Steak & Eggs: flat iron steak accompanying poached egg resting upon a bed of potato rosti with a good dollop of hollandaise.
The Bloody Mary's here are spicy as hell and complement the sweetness of the chilli jam and treacled bacon perfectly. Great food, great coffee and really instagrammable interiors. It's not cheap, but it's well worth it.
Starks Kitchen - Newcastle upon Tyne
Let me tell you, Starks' brunch is NO JOKE. If you're after something other than the standard avo, bacon brunch option - these are your guys. As per, Mark ordered flawlessly (and on the same day that I decided to avoid the avo and attempt at a "lighter" brunch option). He went for the special, which involved crispy confit duck, ontop of an English muffin that was dressed with avocado, chilli jam and topped with a big fried Duck egg and spring onion shavings. I can't begin to tell you how good it was (or the level of food envy I experienced).
I bitterly proceeded at my bowl of honey granola, but quite honestly - it was really lovely. Mixed with a thick, natural yoghurt, sprinkled with Chia seeds and sharp, fresh berries.
FYI, the Bloody Mary was a winner, as was the coffee. Starks featured as a reader's recommendation in the Good Food Guide 2018, so this small family-run eatery is certainly not to be sniffed at. And I can't recommend it enough. I can't wait for my next visit.
You can read my full review of Starks Kitchen, if you like!
I'll never tire of exploring new bruncheries, so if you've any suggestions please let me know!