I know it seems like I'm just running around London reviewing just restaurants owned by Jamie Oliver recently, but I promise you that it is not intentional. Okay, maybe it is a little bit intentional, because from Union Jacks to Barbecoa I've had fantastic meals, there their just happen to be great places to eat in locations I've been meeting up with people. However, if you'll put up with me banging on about his fantastic restaurants for another blog post, I just need to tell you about a recent Sunday morning brunch trip to the Notting Hill branch of Recipease, because Recipease is not only a great brunch spot with the ultimate hang over cure (more on that in a moment), but it is a street corner in my favourite part of London which embodies everything I believe in about good food and good cooking. And the Bloody Mary's are fantastic.
While the cafe and more cookery school space can be found upstairs, this is the busy and bustling shop front. Here in the middle you can see the big area where people can book and then drop in for cooking classes, anything from basics to making pasta, bread and your own pizza; there is a big pizza oven here at the back, just out of shot. You can also buy kitchen equipment here, jars of weighed out ingredients for cookies and cupcakes, and a big deli section at the front. I've stopped in here a few times, and the selection of cakes, breads and Meringue Girls meringues always have my mouth watering. You can also get your morning coffee here, too.
One feature I love the most about Recipease is not actually the areas where people can be taught to cook. I know that it ties in with the whole reason I write this blog and my philosophy behind food, that anyone can cook and eat well, but I also live in the real world. The reason I know my quick and easy Student Suppers recipes are popular with people who are not still students is because we have so many demands on our lives from work and family, we don't always have time to cook big and elaborate meals. Along the side wall of Recipease you can get fresh meals ready made and ready to go in the oven. Ready meals that are as good for you and delicious as if you'd made it yourself; just someone has done the hard work for you. Maybe I would not be so anti ready meals if you could get more like this. I was tempted by the Fish Pie and the Pork & Fennel Sausage Casserole. I was off to Westfield London to shop for handbags, then Westfield Stratford to do my Waitrose shop (don't ask why I had to go to both!), but if I had been heading straight home I would have grabbed one to enjoy during the coming week to enjoy when I did not fancy cooking after class. I still think I might next time there, to review for those of you with a Recipease near.
So onto brunch, with that incredible jam jar Bloody Mary I was talking about. Usually at brunch I actually order a Virgin Mary so I don't have to feel as bad about having a glass of wine (or two) in the evening, but it had been a very, very long and busy week so I decided to treat myself. There was enough vodka so you could taste it without it being overpowering, and it was spicy enough without being too much that you thought it might blow your head off. (Here is looking at you, Lantana!) I also loved the celery stick as something to munch on while I waited for breakfast, and the paper stripy straw. Anyone who has read my cocktail section recently may have noticed that I am a little bit obsessed with them? Speaking of my cocktail section, never fear. I'm working on my perfect Bloody Mark/ Virgin Mary tomato juice spice mix to unveil once I finally get it right! Not included in this picture, is that your drink actually came with a recipe on a tag around its neck. I left it out the picture as they had accidentally put a recipe on for a Mango Lassi, but I've taken it home with me and I can't wait to try it out. Such a nice touch.
So, while we pondered over the small yet delicious menu for quite a while trying to make our minds up, in the end we both went for The Works. I'm introducing you here to a flavourful Bath Pig Chorizo Sausage, one of the best Pork & Leek sausages I've ever had, streaky bacon cooked to an American style crisp, half a perfectly roasted tomato, a perfectly poached egg that was fantastic cut open over the thick slice of toasted homemade bread, wilted spinach and other assorted greens, a very moorish slice of Spanish potato tortilla and a little pot of some of the best homemade baked beans I've ever tasted. I don't think it is jumping the gun to proclaim this one of the best hang over cures in London (though I must note I was not hung over when I ate this, I just know it would be perfect!), Bloody Mary optional yet recommended.
And finally, I want to leave you with a little snapshot of the lovely Tania, my brunch date for the morning (her blog Joy Felicity Jane is absolutely fantastic with beautiful photos and adventures, and she is about to move to Australia for a year. Go and check it out!) I also wish to name this photo 'What it is like to eat out with a blogger.' Thought it might be nice to give you a little taste of what my friends have to put up with for my 'Places To Eat In London' column!
There are branches of Recipease in Notting Hill (just outside Notting Hill Gate tube station), in Clapham and in Brighton. You don't need to book for a meal, just drop in, and you can book cooking classes for just you, or a big group of you (they also have discounts on double bookings for you and a friend) on the Recipease Wesbite. I personally love the look of the Knife Skills and the Mexican Street Food classes, and they also have classes for kids (between the ages of 12 and 16) including Pasta Making and Foccacia. Have any of you taken any classes at any of the Recipease branches? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them!