17 August 2020

A Right Royal Brunch at Queens of Mayfair

There's something about a multi-course brunch that I reminds me of some of the extended, high-end brunches I've enjoyed in Paris. In London, it's often a more casual affair, but in these COVID-19 times, why wouldn't I want to linger over two brunch courses plus speciality coffee from Difference Coffee? And brand-new cafe–bar Queens of Mayfair is a beautiful setting to do just that.

I've been eagerly awaiting the opening of Queens of Mayfair, the brainchild of sisters Victoria and Grace Sheppard, for several months and it opened its Queen Street doors last week. It's a real all-day venue, with breakfast and lunch dishes and cocktails, as well as coffee, cakes and pastries for in-between times. Among the sweet treat selection are the doughnuts-in-eclair's-clothing from Longboys, which I tried recently in King's Cross. On Saturdays, they do a set two-course brunch with juice and a hot drink for £25 — if you're feeling especially fancy, you can add on bottomless cocktails or Champagne.

It was very busy when I arrived around 12:30, and although I didn't book, the warm and welcoming staff managed to find a table for me in the small rear seating area, strikingly decorated in shades of teal and orange, with gold accents. First, though, I got to eye up the coordinating custom La Marzocco, looking very fine on the counter. 

But back to the brunch. After starting with a pastry basket and yoghurt with berry compote — for the table — you can choose among three dishes: the popular vegan pancakes with banana; avocado and halloumi on sourdough; and smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sourdough. You can also choose either apple or orange juice and a hot drink.

I was excited to try the coffee from Difference — they serve a Panama Gesha coffee as a pourover, which is £15, but this wasn't included in the set brunch, of course, so I went for a flat white instead. The Brazilian Daterra coffee tasted great with milk, smooth and silky, and the latte art persisted to the end.

As I was dining alone, the pastries and yoghurt for the table were just for me — what a shame! There were two pastries in my basket, so I took the pain au chocolat home for breakfast the following day, enjoying the croissant alongside the yoghurt and granola.

Then it was time for the main event, and I ordered the avocado and halloumi, after hesitating for a long time between this and the salmon and scrambled eggs (regular readers will know I'm not that into sweet brunch dishes). The dish was beautifully presented, delicious and very filling, especially after my 'starter'. I'd like to return on a weekday when there are more choices on the menu (although I like halloumi, I'd rather have poached eggs with my avo toast). And, of course, there are sad occasions when I don't have time for such a leisurely brunch.

The Sheppard sister have clearly spent a lot of time thinking carefully about every last detail to ensure that their customers feel like queens — or other royals of their choosing — from the food, coffee and cocktails, to the service and the interiors. Even the bathroom is gorgeous!

Queens of Mayfair. 17 Queen Street, London, W1J 5PH (Tube: Green Park). Website. Instagram.

For 120+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, please check out my London speciality coffee guide.

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