For a meal that has barely existed for a century – OED attributes the term to an 1895 article in Punch magazine – brunch sure has carved out a niche. In the immortal words of Jacques from the Simpsons, introducing Marge to the concept for the first time: “It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal.”
Unfortunately the new Brunch Menu at Mayfair’s Indian Accent doesn’t come with a slice of cantaloupe but so accommodating are the staff, were cantaloupe requested I have no doubt that cantaloupe would duly appear. Come to that, you don’t get a good meal either – you get a great one, the type that sends you hobbling down the street, stuffed as a turkey on Christmas Day, harbouring serious concerns about your gastric health but absolutely no regrets whatsoever, except maybe you should have risked it all by finishing off the Makhan Malai because, hey, there’d be worse ways to go.
Indian Accent is a beautiful restaurant – quite literally gleaming with class – but on a beautiful sunny afternoon in late June you’d be mad not to take advantage of the outdoor seating: Albemarle Street is a glorious place to observe the very rich and the pretending to be very rich go about their Saturdays. At one point a man parked a Lamborghini six feet from our table; a magnificent car in the most hideous shade of green (think Flubber). “Why on Earth would you get that car in that colour?” I scoffed. By the end of the meal we understood: I can count on my fingers the pedestrians who didn’t take a photo of it.
Brunch For The Table includes all the good stuff, and a fair bit of great stuff as well
If the Flubber Lamborghini fails to reappear for your visit, no matter – the food is pretty picturesque as well. If you’re the type of person who Instagrams every meal then I’d pack a phone charger, you’ll have plenty to get through. (If you aren’t the type of person who Instagrams every meal then you have my undying respect.) Hopefully you’ll be too busy chowing down. through the delightfully decadent chilli crab cheese toast – a fine if slightly transgressive delight in the summer heat, it must be utterly ravishing in the chill of winter. I intend to go back and find out.
Before this meal, if you’d asked my favourite form of eggs I would have replied “Benedict”; before this meal I was a fool. It’s actually baked with chicken chilli dabba gosht, a creamy dish to put hairs on your chest and a smile on your step. (And pounds to your weighing scale, but let us not speak of such things.)
If possible, order Brunch For The Table at £40 per guest, which includes all the good stuff, and a fair bit of great stuff as well. You’ll even get two featherlight desserts, makhan malai (think souffle) and mango ‘aamras’ (think the best yoghurt you’ve ever eaten.)
Oh, and there are cocktails: the Albemarle Swizzle is a refreshing exclusive to the brunch menu, although special recommendation to The Proper Copper – vodka, honey and rose water, and the definitive proof that for a daytime cocktail minimalism is king. (Hell, have ‘em both.)
Let those less-enlightened stick to their smashed avocados and toast. When it comes to brunch, this is one accent you should definitely master.