So while everyone genuinely does love a lie-in and all-day eggs, people who bang on about how much they simply love brunch always come across as…you know. Tossers.
That said, if you’re going to get on board with the most pretentious meal of the day, you may as well do it right. Islington’s Upper Street is to brunch what Las Vegas Boulevard is to blackjack. In fact, if I were to draw a
artisan quiche pie chart of all Upper Street businesses, it’d show about 10% arty design stores, 5% offbeat clothes stores and 85% fancy bruncheries, all trying furiously to outdo each other in the cut-throat business of wilted spinach and poached eggs.
I haven’t tried every single one yet, but my favourite place so far is the Blue Legume, which sits about halfway between Highbury & Islington and Angel stations. Now, the service is total balls, but the menu is extensive and the decor is so epically eclectic it could have been plucked straight off of Pinterest.
We went this weekend after a late-night Bloody Mary experiment left us feeling a little worse for wear. (We didn’t have any tomato juice, so we swapped it out for passata and ended up with a very, very alcoholic pasta sauce. Which we drank from martini glasses because everything else was in the dishwasher. Classy as fuck.) In short, we needed something to soothe the bile.
I always have the Eggs Mediterranean: toasted English muffins topped with spinach, garlic sausage, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. I know that’s not very adventurous, but I’m a creature of habit. I’m like a dog in that way. Also they’re fucking splendid.
James 1 had its fishy friend – Eggs Royale – which has salmon instead of sausage, and James 2 had a triple-decked posh club sandwich with an enormous side of wedges.
Our friend Tom made a grave error in ordering the Cumberland Sausage Breakfast, which he reported as disappointing: “basically a full English, but less greasy”. Duh. Why would you order a posh fry-up when you can have buttery lemony Hollandaise?
As you can see, portions at the Blue Legume are on the large side, so save this one for when you’re well and truly hanging out of your hoop.
There’s also a juice bar for those who prefer their vitamins in liquid form and/or have no teeth.
They do a shit-tonne of blends, including custom ones if you have a special favourite, and an extensive coffee menu. Good reports all round, and I recommend the smoothies. Although, at £3.95 each, they are a bit steep for what is essentially breakfast with knobs on. You do get a bikkie though.
It’s always worth making sure you have plenty of time if you’re planning a visit. The staff are very sweet but don’t move very quickly, so it’s a good thing if you’re going for a good gas.
We visited the Blue Legume at about midday on a Saturday. There was a little queue but we were seated in about five minutes. Options vary, but you can expect to spend £10-15 a head; the full menu can be found on their website.
You can find the Blue Legume at 177 Upper Street, N1 1RU.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.