I’m not usually one for surprises. A lot of the time I’m the conspirator and Gina is the one left surprised. Except for our visit to Darcie Green which was not my idea. I’m glad Gina surprised me on this day. Get the fizz, we’re brunching.
All I had been told about this particular visit to London was that we needed to get an early train out of Cambridge and be at our intended destination by 9.30am sharp. Seemed very early to me but I was promised it would be worth it.
I tried for a few days to get some idea of what was in store but Gina wouldn’t budge. She knows how to drive me mad at times. I must know these things. But there we were, on a chilly but pleasant Saturday morning in December, making our way to London and we were all on track.
A tube ride from Liverpool Street to Paddington and we were there, staring at the vessel that would be hosting us for the morning. “We’re here,” said Gina. This was it. The final destination. First thoughts? Definitely surprised. Had my wife managed to one-up me for a change?
You see, Darcie Green isn’t a brick and mortar restaurant but rather a barge that has been converted for purpose. A charming venue that plays host to a delightful Bottomless Brunch. This was our mission. I imagine that having a restaurant on the water is a far cheaper proposition than paying a hefty rental in a trendy suburb.
A straightforward start as a bottle of Prosecco was popped and placed on the table once glasses were filled with the fizz. I declined the offer of the orange juice to go with it. If we were doing this then it was going to be done properly.
You see, Gina and I have a tradition that every year which sees us try to find a restaurant to enjoy something of a splurge at. It’s a tradition that was started on the day I proposed at a posh Johannesburg hotel. But it had also been one that fell away in the last two years what with us immigrating to the UK and there being more important matters to deal with at each time. But I am glad that we’ve restored this annual treat. Again, Gina did well here.
It’s not too often that you can get away with consuming alcohol in the morning. Bottomless brunch is one of the occasions where it seems to be appropriate. There’s also an element of sophistication to the whole thing too. Although I imagine that could become a very blurred line as the bubbles sneak up on you. We were content for the light buzz that overtook our thoughts on that Saturday morning where very little else seemed to matter but our breakfast on a leisurely Saturday morning. This is living.
Be warned, Darcie Green is popular. It’s also got a very limited capacity, as you’d expect of the vessel. So book long in advance. Or you could try your luck in the neighbouring venue, which is identical but you have to take your chances when it comes to finding enough space for your party. And make sure you’re on time for your reservation, they’re held for 15 minutes.
The Bottomless Brunch at Darcie Green is served as two-courses, a first for me when it comes to breakfast, unless partaking in a hotel buffet breakfast which often goes on longer than it should. You’ll pay £39.5 per person for the privilege.
I had very few problems in picking my options, opting for the Smoked Salmon Royale, a dish that seems a breakfast staple anywhere decent. This one was good with the chilli pesto a particular highlight. A bit more hollandaise would have been great. It was good, but there wasn’t enough of it. Gina went for the Sweetcorn Fritters.
We both went for the award-winning Banana Bread Sandwich for afters. Not sure what award it’s won but I can see why. It’s effing delicious. Served with honey mascarpone, fresh berries and almonds.
A side note here, the Fancy Bacon Roll has holy f*ck hollandaise included in the description of the dish. It must be good. Likely added as a result of the reaction caused when tasting said hollandaise for the first time. Another fun fact about Darcie Green, its colourful facade is the brainchild of Sir Peter Blake the ‘godfather’ of British pop art.
Would I go back? Most definitely. There was something magic about being a bit tipsy, wandering through London for the remainder of the afternoon. And as I mentioned earlier. I am glad Gina found this one for us.
Where is it – Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, London W2 6DS
When to go – Brunch is good but they do also do lunch and dinner. Evenings could be a vibe.
What to eat – Definitely the banana bread.
What to drink – Prosecco, obvs. Coffee is pretty good too.
How to book – firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you been? What did you think? Where else would you recommend trying? Comment below with your thoughts or head over to Instagram where I share content as @NickReporter. You can also give the Facebook Page (@NickReporterGordon) a like or find where I tweet as @NickReporter.