This upmarket restaurant in Berners Street in Central London’s Fitzrovia used to be our go-to place for Sunday brunch for a few months, until we had several bad experiences in a row. Rude staff, long waits, and major cock-ups on the food, to name just a few of the issues. So for a whole year we avoided Berners Tavern. A few months ago, a couple we’re friends with suggested we meet up there, and we were curious, so agreed to the location. We’ve been back for brunch two more times after that, and overall we enjoyed ourselves each time.
Located inside boutique hotel inventor Ian Schrager’s Edition Hotel, the main dining hall is one of the most beautiful spaces on the London restaurant scene. Two huge chandeliers, inspired by the ones in New York City’s Grand Central station, dangle from the nearly 6m tall ceilings, counteracting the pompousness of the historic turn-of-the-century space. Warm lighting and a myriad of quirky paintings, photos, and collages in massive frames that cover the walls, further add to the intimacy and vibrant, nearly addictive, atmosphere of this giant space.
Our waiter was exceptionally pleasant, professional, knowledgeable, friendly, even cheerful, and clearly enjoyed walking us through the menu. We had already enjoyed some street food earlier on the day, so took it easy and went for a flat white (£4.50) and an espresso (£3.95), plus a bloody mary to share for good measure (£14). For sustenance, Ms B ordered beetroot, fig, and burrata salad, burnt onion powder, with white wine dressing (£15), I opted for the roasted sweet potato, halloumi, poached egg, pine nut pesto, on Borough Market sourdough bread (£12.50), plus, after some negotiation, as extras are not official menu options, an extra poached egg (£3.50).
The coffee arrived within five minutes and was delicious by local standards (can’t expect to get the same quality that you’d expect in Sydney, Paris, or Rome). The waiter had warned us when we ordered, that his colleague who made the rounds with the bloody mary trolley might take a while, because there were so many guests who had ordered this cocktail that afternoon. So it was perfectly fine with us that the drink had not yet arrived when the food was delivered.
Ms B, wo had not enjoyed burrata on too many occasions before, seemed to incurably fall in love with this creamy Italian cheese right in front of me. It went very well with the other ingredients, especially the beetroot and the Cabernet Sauvignon dressing.
On my end of the table I thoroughly enjoyed every last thing about my dish, except, perhaps, the most important thing when it comes to any brunch involving eggs: the eggs. They were slightly soft, but not at all runny. A bit of a disappointment, but on the other hand, the combination of flavours worked extremely well. The pine nut pesto was not too overpowering, and the bread was a clear winner.
To further smooth out the experience, the waiter with the trolley arrived, and, in a non-intrusive, subtle manner turned the selection of ingredients of the cocktail into an entertaining show, encouraged by a bubbly Ms B, who asked lots of questions.
We’ll be back for more. 3.75 out of 5. It would have been a 4.25 out of 5 if it hadn’t been for the eggs.