A friend and I regularly meet for brunch on a Sunday, so when The Ivy opened last year in St John’s Wood, we made expeditious passage to the iconic “chuck wagon” only to be told there was no room at the inn; surprising, as although it was close to Christmas, it appeared at best half-empty and it was only 10:00AM.
I booked on the spot for the same time the following week only to be told with some mendacity that I could only be accommodated at 10:15; on arrival the eatery was at best half-full. I was happy to endure this paralogism every week as the food really was, to begin with rather good; alas decrepitude was rapid, culminating in hard poached eggs on my last visit; a change of venue was necessary.
Staff in Raoul’s of Maida Vale by contrast this week were honest, offered us any table we liked, and the food was excellent. Hospitality is about making the customer feel welcome, in a word…. caring; the owner of The Ivy should take note.
And below is my favourite brunch recipe of avocado, smoked salmon, poached eggs, and toast, for all to enjoy.
Avocado, smoked salmon and poached eggs on toast
2 slices of bread
2 cloves peeled raw garlic
1 whole soft avocado, skinned and stoned
Tabasco sauce to taste
Worcestershire Sauce to taste
Malden Sea Salt and Cracked pepper
4 free range organic eggs
160g thinly slices very oily smoked salmon
A small handful of cress
Dice the avocado into equal sized cubes; add the lemon juice, Tabasco and Worcester sauce to taste followed by cracked pepper and sea salt; set a side.
Bring a pan of water up to a very gentle simmer; crack four eggs into a large mug, and then carefully tip into the water. Leave to poach for about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon delicately lift out of the water; the eggs should be soft to the touch.
Place two slices of bread on an hot griddle, toast either side and rub with peeled raw garlic Lay the toast on a plate as the base, cover with the avocado, add the smoked salmon, top with the eggs and a sprinkle of cress.