Ever get to a Sunday night and wonder where the weekend went? Blame brunch.
Brunch is what turns a quick Saturday morning coffee into a lengthy afternoon blow-out that leaves you wandering, glassy-eyed, up and down the High Street, laden with shopping bags from stores you can’t quite recall visiting.
Brunch is what has you bypassing plans to construct IKEA furniture and other productive weekend chores, and heading straight into Saturday night followed by a Sunday spent horizontal on the couch.
It is brunch, not procrastination, that is the real thief of time. And, somewhat surprisingly, it is to Argentinian steakhouse Gaucho that we willingly hand over our weekend to-do lists.
The 18-strong international restaurant chain is probably not a natural port of call for those seeking eggs bennie and bloody marys, but you might be surprised how well they have managed to build a unique brunch offering around the cornerstones of a bloody good steak and some slick interiors.
Electro Brunch is a bottomless offering of food and drink where guests can order up as much as they like in many small plates and drink as they like within a two-hour time slot, and it’s all dished up within the buzzy confines of an upmarket restaurant with a live DJ.
Most of the 13 dishes have a South American lilt; beans on toast with chorizo, fried provoleta, choripan with chimichurri, and steak and eggs, which turn out to be a natural partner to the more ‘white (sourdough) bread’ brunch staples also on the menu.
A starter serving of medialunas – the croissant’s cousin from the south – with peanut butter dulce de leche are buttery and flaky and the perfect way to kick things off in traditional Argentine fashion.
Unsurprisingly, the steak shines; juicy, succulent and perfectly portioned to allow other dishes – such as a flavour-packed chorizo sandwich topped with chimichurri – a look in. Tried and tested traditional brunch dishes like banana pancakes and avocado on toast aren’t going to make headlines, but serve as a welcome interlude between meatier courses.
Drinks are a choice between fresh juices, the Gaucho Bloody Mary, Aperol Spritz, beer or sparkling wine, and unlike London’s many hundreds of bottomless options, you don’t have to stick to one dance partner for the whole two hours. Start smug with a fresh apple, cantaloupe melon and mint juice, follow up with a spritz or sparkling, then mainline the free flowing Bloody Marys until things get hazy before slowing down with a pint of the Rubia Pilsener.
Oddly, considering the hour, the one exception to the brunch menu is coffee, although the gradual increases in volume from the background music and surrounding tables makes one think that in fact this probably isn’t the time or place for a latte.
At £45 per head, Electro Brunch errs on the more expensive end of London’s bottomless brunch offerings, arrive on an empty stomach and quick service will make sure you get the most from it. Just make sure you’ve got nothing more productive than a pub session planned for afterwards.
Gaucho Broadgate, 5 Finsbury Avenue EC2M 2PG