Laynes Espresso, current residents at the Belgrave Music Hall, host a Sunday brunch service every month. My previous experiences (see my posts here and here) have been a bit hit and miss. The food is always great but there were a few problems with service when it launched earlier this year. After missing a the last few I was invited last weekend to join my friend Sarah and her family for her birthday brunch.
The menu looked very impressive. All five dishes sounded delicious but I was particularly eyeing up the French Toast again (I have had it before and it is the stuff of dreams!). With the menu changing for each service to adapt to available seasonal produce it was nice to see asparagus included.
We were a group of four and we decided to order all five dishes so we could try a bit of everything.
Service was much quicker than in previous visits. All of the dishes came within thirty minutes of ordering them. More staff were on to take orders and the system had been ironed out to be a smooth and quick service.
First up we have the heavenly French Toast (£7.50)! This came served as two slices of thick brioche which was crisp on the outside but moist and delicate on the inside without being soggy. It was topped with caramelised banana, an almond brittle, espresso mascarpone and maple syrup.
I loved all the flavours and textures in this dish. The espresso mascarpone was quite over powering but it's bitter taste cut through the sweetness of the rest of the dish, giving it a nice contrast and balance.
The next dish was the 36 Hour Pork Belly BLT (£8) - this was almighty in size and proportions. A thick wedge of focaccia was filled with cos lettuce, plum vine tomatoes, avocado, bacon mayonnaise and a slab of pork belly.
This looked extremely impressive. I'm not a massive fan of pork... and particularly pork belly so this wasn't the dish for me but it was received well by others on the table. The pork was melt-in-the-mouth and very tender. Even for pork belly though this was mainly just fat with a very small ratio of meat in the portion we were served.
The Heritage Tomato (£8) dish was delicately presented. A slice of toasted sourdough was topped with sliced heritage tomatoes served with an avocado mousse, salted ricotta, poached egg and then topped with puffed rice (yes they are not caterpillars!).
I love heritage tomatoes for their diversity in appearance and in flavour. With a few different tomatoes in this dish, the flavours were predominantly smokey, with the tomatoes having a meaty texture.
On to the Beetroot Cured Salmon (£8) we were served a plate of beautiful dark pink salmon, naturally dyed by the beetroot, with a pea, feta and sweetcorn fritter, poached egg, avocado puree and dill creme fraiche.
And last but not least was the English Asparagus (£8.50) which came served on a piece of toasted sourdough, topped with four stalks of asparagus coated in black sesame seeds and miso, a round of goats cheese and a poached egg which had been deep fried and coated in panko breadcrumbs.
This dish was the savoury winner for me. The goats cheese was slightly melted from the heat of the asparagus and the egg and made it all nice and gooey. The asparagus was cooked al dente and had a good bite to it. Delicately seasoned with the sesame seeds and miso the asparagus flavours shone through.The egg was a masterpiece, I loved the concept and the idea and was fascinated by how it had been made. This dish was a real beauty.
Overall we were very pleased with the food, service and impressed with the menu. I look forward to seeing what the next menu brings!