One of the most awkward early-days conversations Tom and I ever had was more of a confession on my part really. It involved me coming clean about an addiction I’ve been silently battling for a number of years. My instincts told me I could trust Tom, plus I’d suffered alone for long enough; I needed his support and understanding. I’d decided to drop the “there’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about…” bomb, which is enough to make any sane person want to jump ship and launch themselves out of the nearest four storey window, so I cut straight to the point.
“I have a really weird and undeniable addiction …to egg mayonnaise.”
Whatever reaction you’re imagining Tom had, you’re probably right. This kind of filthy habit is enough to warrant a whole multitude of emotions. No exaggeration is being employed here. I eat egg mayonnaise three or four times a week and I’m not dramatising my obsession when I say that I often daydream about this cream-coloured, curdled eggy spread. I’m revolting. And possibly a bit tapped. That said, he stuck by my side and is slowly learning to come to terms with this depraved part of my life. So it’s only inevitable that my dependancy eventually led us to Regent’s Canal one Spring Sunday morning, to enjoy brunch at the hands of the Yolk London kids.
Whilst their name is fairly self-explanatory, I’ll elaborate. They, too, are egg-obsessed – a fixation which is channeled through producing egg-inspired dishes for brunch-going Easties at the weekends. They promise to deliver the ‘sexiest eggs in London’. Saying this to me is basically like what the booze aisle of ASDA would have done to Paul Gascoigne. It’s fair to say that they were about to be be judged by a very well-informed, harsh critic. I’ve eaten all the eggs there ever were. I’ll tell you whether they’re the sexiest, I thought to myself and not out loud, for fear of giving Tom more egg-fuelled reason to leave me.
The Proud Archivist plays host to this whisking bunch of egg enthusiasts, allowing them to pursue a weekend residency from their kitchen. It’s a beautiful little eatery; a light-flooded open space which is perched keenly on the bank of the canal with its high ceilings and its glass walls. Huge rustic wooden tables offer communal dining opportunities, walls of deep floor-to-ceiling shelves hold nic-nacs and plants and cookbooks whilst the atmosphere is friendly and the staff are attentive.
Yolk’s menu is simple, with classic egg dishes on offer as well as a few unusual ones. I ordered my favourite brunch option; eggs royale. Tom ordered their signature scotch egg. Then we threw in a serving of sweet brioche to share, because we were feeling mental.
A short-time later, our table was adorned with beautifully presented egg dishes which won me over on looks alone. God, I’m shallow. Much to my delight, the eggs royale was served on gluten-free bread (yeah, I’m that person at the dinner party) which was such good quality, I’d never had guessed it was the poor man’s alternative to a real, gut-ruining loaf. But the eggs. Oh, the eggs. I wasn’t necessarily looking to enthuse, but it’s hard not to when every bite of every dish you’re eating is that flawless. The eggs royale had the perfect amount of fresh smoked salmon as well as a rich, warm hollandaise sauce to compliment the lighter-than-air, runny-yoked eggs which adorned it. Then onto Tom’s scotch egg – a famous dish of theirs. Cutting it open on his plate caused the hot orange yolk to spill out of the herby, peppered haggis case as if it were molten lava. It was perfection personified. Finally, onto the sweet double yolk brioche french toast, dusted with icing sugar and presented next to a dollop of maple mascarpone and berry compote. It was so orgasmic in flavour, I couldn’t bear to look on as Tom tucked in to this gluten-rich dish, communicating the delicious taste through facial expressions and worrying noises. No amount of therapy and talking and weaning could help me. I caved. I had to try it, despite knowing I shouldn’t. I also ate half of his scotch egg, too. Look, I’m not even sorry. I don’t even want rehabilitating. Yolk are right; they really are the sexiest eggs in London. I started with good intentions, to just enjoy one small gluten-free dish which would provide me with relief and a moderate eggy fix, but I couldn’t go the distance. It was one of the best brunches I’ve had in a long time.
Of course I’ll be back. I mean, this brunch date was Saturday morning, it’s Sunday night now and I might have Googled whether Yolk are open on Monday mornings, pre-7am. They’re not. Probably for the best. That said, if you’re a lover of brunch – particularly egg-related dishes, this is definitely for you. Yolk – you ruined any progress I’d made thus far towards recovery. Thank you. I loved every minute.