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18 February 2016

london | brunch woe at heddon st. kitchen

you'll remember that a couple of weeks ago, miss katy and i spoiled ourselves rotten on two-for-one brunch at the fable in holborn - right? well, after that incredible offer, we were quick to snap up more of the emerald street's generous vouchers so we could take ~full advantage of some of london's most talked about brunch spots. this week's installment: the heddon street kitchen, right in the heart of central london. the perfect spot for galentine's brunch! i'd been once before - on a client lunch, so was forced to not take the piss and order a small meal, so i was looking forward to getting back in there and eating my way through the brunch menu.

a few minutes' walk from both picadilly and green park stations, gordon ramsay's heddon street kitchen is the perfect spot for a quick bite to eat or break from the weather, for those mad shoppers whiling the hours away on regent and oxford streets. unless of course, they have a voucher from a third party experience site, or they are after good service and tasty food from a terrific menu, then... don't go there.

let me explain: i was the first to arrive of the four of us, and so claimed the table and ordered a coffee while i waited. it was then i was given the "emerald street brunch" menu to peruse. the special menu that supported the deal we secured through the emerald street newsletter was minimal, at best. i'd spent days poring over the kitchen's brunch menu tossing up between pancakes, the burger, and the mac'n'cheese and, and yet suddenly my options were narrowed down for me, to three options. three.whole.options: muesli, an egg and bacon roll (that wasn't even on the regular brunch menu), and eggs and salmon. not even with toast. that was it

i was shocked to say the least, and appalled to say the most; at every other brunch the girls and i have taken with these 2-4-1 vouchers, there have been minimal-to-no restrictions on the standard menu, and not only was this menu dwindled down from a fifteen-plus-strong menu of breakfast items, it included things that weren't even ~on the original menu. pretty cheeky, if you ask me. while the emerald street site does advise that brunch will be available from the "set brunch menu", it does not suggest the "menu" will be a watered down and highly pathetic version of the normal one. i was gutted, and even more so because as it was before midday and we could elect to eat from the real menu, we were still restricted to breakfast. my burger and mac'n'cheese dreams disappeared in a second.

once the girls had all arrived, we decided to eat from the regular breakfast menu whilst becoming further annoyed that there were items on it that were priced lower than those on the stupid "set" menu. it just made no sense, at all. and of course no-one could explain the theory behind it to us either. which was juuuuuust excellent. unlike my pumpernickel toast, which was terribly burnt, and the mustard mayo on my avocado that made my belly turn and force me to get off the train early on my way home to - well, that's not the point. the point is, the regularly-priced food was nothing more than "fine", and if i wasn't in such excellent company, i would have been having a totally crap time.

it's just as well i'd chosen to spend the day with some totally awesome women, isn't it. i wonder if it's a coincidence that internet friends day and galentine's day fell on the same day this year, when this is the year that my "internet friends" have really helped shape and affect my day-to-day life. i've always had girl friends, right. like one here, and one there, but never ones that really ever hung out with each other. i'm fiercely independent, and never really found my groove in a big group of girls. plus, girls be bitches, and ain't nobody got time for that. so, i've never really had a group of girlfriends to call my own. and yet somehow in the last year i have not only met a group of independently awesome women, but women who - as a team, give me life. 

i wake daily to supportive, inspirational and blatantly cheerleading messages from these girls, who - up until a 12 months ago, i had spoken to only on twitter, or i had only met a handful of time, or - crazier still, i had never heard of. these women have introduced me to their partners (and parents, in some cases)(kb's dad is a fox). planned weekends away with me. invited me into their homes. have gotten drunk with me - multiple times. but most of all, have absolutely and entirely accepted me into their lives, no questions asked, and (i'm hopeful about this) without a second thought (although they would be excused if they had).

i've always been one to pick excellent friends. as a young adult i decided that it would always be quality over quantity when it came to choosing my people, because after a couple of toxic friendships at school and later on, i knew that those sorts of relationships were just not worth pursuing. and yet for the first time in my life i am lucky enough to not only have an exceptional tool belt of strong and admirable men women who i know i can turn to individually at the drop of a hat for the advice, or a shoulder, or the drink to help get me right, but now i also have a crazy-awesome squad of women - who just get stronger and more amazing en mass.

so yeah, the food at the heddon street kitchen wasn't great, and the waitress literally rolled her eyes when she realised we weren't leaving her a tip, but it could totally have been worse. would i recommend the restaurant? definitely not. would i recommend celebrating the group of women who always lift you up and never let you down more than just one day a year? oh, hell yes. i love you girls!

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