SUNDAY: 169 HEMINGFORD ROAD, LONDON, N1

Amongst my friends there are a few who are as keen on the brunching tradition as I am, so we often swap recommendations and brunch ideas. The most recent I received was for Sunday in Barnsbury, London – certainly an easy name to remember when sunday brunch hunting – and since I was heading to London soonafter I decided to look it up.

I was told it was ‘possibly the best brunch I have ever had’ – which seemed like quite a high expectation to set for someone with a longstanding affection for the hybrid-feast. A quick search online, and it seems my friend was not the only one to have come away highly impressed.

Amol Rajan, writing for the Independent, ‘wondered what it would take for a restaurant to score 10 out of 10’ was hard put to find fault with the brunch offering at Sunday, lauding it as ‘my kind of perfect…brunch palace’ which is impressive for an establishment which had only been open for six weeks at the time his review was written.

Needless to say I was keen to go and, feeling I needed an objective second opinion to mitigate the possibility of having been pre-converted, invited a London-resident and longtime friend, H., to join me there on a sunny mid-May afternoon. Neither of us was disappointed, and it proved to be the perfect conclusion to my visit to London.

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Upon arriving, I was pleased to find that their brunch menu is available all day, which was just as well as we arrived at 14.30. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful and were offered advice on the menu by one of the chefs.

The weather being so good, we elected to take a table outside in the small, quiet garden at the back of the restaurant, under the canopy of what appeared to be huge fig tree (not being much of a horticulturalist, I’ll leave it to someone else to confirm that). As we passed through the dining room, a quick glance at the plates of other diners was all the verification we needed that we were in for a treat. Passing one table, H. couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to whisper an enquiry to one of the servers regarding a particular dish that had caught her eye.

I personally have an invariable, if somewhat traditional, weakness for poached eggs at brunchtime, and tend to use that as a baseline standard when making comparisons between restaurants.  H. followed up on her initial instincts and, with the server’s recommendation, ordered the beef carpaccio plate she’d spotted in the dining room.

As we’d already made up our minds, there was no fussing over the menu when we sat down,  but even so the service was excellent and it was not long before our plates arrived.

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It was absolutely fantastic. Even if you’re not already in the area, I’d highly recommend anyone heading to London to take the time to make a detour to Barnsbury to experience it for yourself.

Practicalities:

– Closest tube station: Caledonian Road or Highbury and Islington (but you may want to avoid the latter if there’s an Arsenal match on)
– 20-25 mins walk from St. Pancras International Station: within easy reach for Eurostar travellers
– Service style: Table
– Vegetarian-friendly menu options
– Coffee available to take away

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