I love brunch – it’s essentially breakfast food for late weekend risers. Nothing beats Belgian waffles, a stack of pancakes and eggs benedict. Even after living in the UK for years, I can’t say I’m a fan of pub roasts or pub food at all aside from yorkshire pudding drowned in gravy. So when when a group of us headed to the delightful Snooty Fox pub on a sunny Saturday, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Nestled in Canonbury on a leafy residential street, The Snooty Fox is a cosy little neighbourhood pub with a daily rotisserie menu serving Freemans of Newent free-range chickens accompanied with an array of side dishes in addition to regular pub fare like burgers, pies and daily specials. Most of our group of 10 ordered the 1/4 chicken while two ordered burgers and one ordered a impressive looking plate of ribs.
On their rotisserie menu, the chicken is described as “basted in aromatic herbs and spices, stuffed with lemon and lime and served with gravy”. Normally roast chicken in a pub is pretty bland, even at fancy pubs like The Albion in Islington where Sunday lunch will cost you a pretty penny. This chicken was tender and came in a delicious gravy, not too salty but with just enough flavour to enhance the meat. There’s an impressive choice of sides ranging from garlic and spring onion mash to greek salad, ratatouille or spiced red cabbage. My only beef is that the sides are absolutely tiny. The caesar salad side came in a tiny pot that wouldn’t satisfy a hungry toddler. It’s great value for money though as a 1/2 chicken with two side orders will only set you back £12.50. The greek salad was nice and refreshing and the mashed potatoes were attractively served as a bed for the chicken and gravy.
No complaints from the ribs and burger option – the burger was served on a soft brioche bun while the chips were nice and crispy. The Snooty Fox’s pub fare isn’t ground-breaking stuff or anything to write home about but it’s good food at an affordable price that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. I do cringe inside and clutch my wallet when I hear the phrase “gastro-pub”. And with friendly and attentive staff, what more could you want out of your local neighbourbood pub?
The Snooty Fox
75 Grosvenor Ave
London N5 2NN
Prepare to boggle the minds of your slightly jet-lagged out-of-town guests by taking them for brunch at Duck & Waffle. You don’t even have to speak to an actual human to book a table, simply use their easy online booking. However, the one thing you have to remember is that for desirable times (aka NOT 2am), you’ll need to plan ahead and book 6-8 weeks in advance, even though it’s open 24 hours. I’m amazed that I managed to remember to book it in time for our New Zealand guests but I was quite pleased with myself as we rode the eerily quiet and speedy lift up to the 40th Floor of the Heron Tower for a late Sunday brunch.
All four of us ordered from the “Breakfast Classics” menu, I was impressed it was still available when we rolled in at 2pm. It enrages me to miss out on delicious breakfast just because I arrived after 12pm. I only rise before 9am for breakfast on a weekend if I’m trapped on a cruise ship. First up was the Ox Cheek Benedict – beautifully presented with a dash of sriracha garnish. The meat was unctuous and fatty with a pleasant gamey taste – a unique take on a classic. The Colombian Eggs were scrambled with organic eggs, tomato and spring onion served atop avocado and toast with either grilled chorizo or smoked salmon. Sam went for the grilled chorizo option and was VERY impressed. I greedily admired it from across the table.
I pined for the actual Duck & Waffle dish – crispy leg confit, fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup – but went for the English Breakfast. The sausage swayed me. Greasy fry-ups aren’t normally my favourite breakfast option (I usually feel awful after) but the presentation of this was immaculate. In a shallow black dish came pork & herb sausage, two organic eggs, organic Duroc bacon, a grilled tomato, field mushroom, hash brown and Scottish black pudding. With sourdough bread on the side. HEAVEN. It even came with an adorable side of condiments in miniature jars. It sounds like a lot of food but it was perfectly portioned. The hash brown was delicious and crunchy and everything just went together like a dream – you could tell a lot of care went into balancing the dish. I didn’t need to lie down afterwards so I felt like I was winning.
We ordered house bread for the table – now this was as popular as you would think freshly baked bread would be. It was hot and a must-order for bread fiends (everyone). It came straight out of the oven with freshly churned butter. I could have eaten this all day.
So the breakfast menu was reasonablly priced – from about £11-£15 for the Full English. But the drinks menu was a bit extortionate. My Bloody Mary was a HUGE disappointment. It cost £14 and instead of the classic long celery garnish it had bits of celery floating on top. WEIRD. Not in a good way. It wasn’t spicy at all so I was puzzled. I don’t mind paying a bit more for a delicious cocktail if it’s actually tasty but avoid this unless you like tepid tomato juice with vodka.
I ended the meal with a black Americano with cream. Most places look at you like you asked to see the cow if you ask for cream but not the perfectly pressed and professional staff at Duck & Waffle. I am pretty picky with coffee – not because I’m a connoiseur but because I am used to drinking coffee with cream and LOTS of sugar. Take away the sugar and everything tastes awful and bitter. This tasted great though and was the perfect end to a delicious brunch. And you can’t fault the Instagram-friendly view y’all.
Duck & Waffle
London EC2N 4AY