For me, brunch means a lot of things. Firstly, it means most of my favourite consumables like eggs, pancakes, coffee and peanut butter – so, the healthy ones – will be on the same menu. Also, I get to get up in the middle of the day and still pretend I’m eating breakfast. Finally, brunch usually means that my ‘lie-in’ comes as a result of a well-celebrated evening the night before. In the aforementioned case, I need a brunch which will stand by me and deliver. An understanding and reliable brunch. Basically, it should be a bit like crawling home to your Mum’s house when you feel horrendously sketchy, for comforting food which will sort you out. Except with brunch you don’t get the judging, disappointed looks like you do at Mum’s.
I love you, brunch. For that reason and a thousand more.
Stories is a classic staple for anyone in the London Fields-slash-Broadway Market area. However, for anyone further afield who maybe hasn’t checked it out yet, I thought I’d tell you about the place I always consider whenever brunch pops into mind. It’s the perfect remedy for any hangover, seeing as the entire menu is hearty, rustic and substantial, made with life-saving, stomach-lining ingredients. In other words, if I was taking my rugby-playing, meat-eating giant of a cousin out for brunch, Stories would probably be the one.
Jaye and I went along on a day when we both felt so fragile, even the thought of eating made us feel worse. Yet, sure enough, the food arrived and we both polished it off as if neither of us had eaten since 1999. In its wake, our brunches left two much better human beings in us both, and we felt indebted to the healing powers and damn good ingredients which squared us up.
Having recently had a change of chef, the menu now resembles vegetable hash offerings, poached eggs with avocado options, failsafe American pancake choices or – my favourite – this lush Mexican number which comes with more pulled pork than any one person could ever handle – but the pulled pork is ridiculously good. And juicy. And flavoursome. To be honest, it’s literally taking all my willpower to not down-tools and ditch my homemade dinner for a serving of that stuff right now.
The staff are super friendly and the interiors are easy and welcoming. Without making it sound wholly naff, it kind of reminds me of a university bar (ok, ‘university bar’ sounds naff), but without the emotional eighteen year olds or the final exam dramas. Instead, groups of mates huddle around communal tables with beers and burgers. One guy read the paper in the corner with a dog on a leash. It’s also family-friendly in here, so buggies and parents came and went as we ploughed on through our food. The music playing was a medley of classic favourites and emerging bands. Then, at one point, two musicians turned up and started doing covers of classics like Fleetwood Mac. I assume they’d been booked by the venue, but their arrival was so sudden, I was half-convinced they’d just walked in off the street and gatecrashed our Sunday chill sesh. We were fine with that – one pint in and we had our game faces on again. Suddenly it felt like Friday afternoon, post-work. Dangerous territory on a Sunday.
All the while, the hustle and bustle of Broadway Market was going on outside, creating a lively atmosphere and making me feel less guilty about having spent the rest of my rent money on partying the night before. Monday seemed like a distant cry from where we were, post-brunch and we were still drinking and singing along a few hours later, and a few beers in. Brunch, with extras. Cheers, Stories, you’ve been ace.