Places To Eat In London: Mac & Wild, Liverpool Street
Sometimes it feels like I have reviewed so many brunches that a restaurant really has to do something special to make it stand out. When Rosie and I were invited to Mac & Wild‘s City outpost the other weekend to try their new ‘Wild Brunch‘, we just expected the usual London brunch-fayre, perhaps with a Scottish twist by way of some of the ingredients down to it being a Scottish restaurant. We did not, however, expect to find what I’m happy to call one of the best bacon sandwiches in London, alongside some rather excellent examples of those more standard brunch items: bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s, fluffy pancakes and perfectly executed avocado toast. Seriously, go for the bacon, and make it a meal with everything else.
Shall we start with the drinks? You can get any of the mimosas or Bloody Mary’s (made with vodka, Botanist gin (my choice) or whiskey for £18 bottomless per person – why do anything else? The mimosas were going down really well up and down the table, and my Bloody Botanists were perfectly balanced (I mark these down as excellent in my mission to try all of the Bloody Mary’s in the City) – my only qualm is that I think it ought to have been a bit boozier – yes it is a Saturday morning, but it was missing some of the beautiful flavours of the strong Islay botanicals I usually associated with Botanist gin.
Next, avocado toast. Yes it has turned into somewhat of a brunch cliche (it is now so pedestrian that I eat it for breakfast at home at least once a week), but we fancied it, and in a world where our avo is always being messed with to make it Instagram friendly, there is something to be said about something being executed simply, and perfectly. Perfectly toasted good, homemade bread, topped with generous, buttery, not too smooth, not too chunky, perfectly seasoned avocado. There is no way they could have improved this.
These are pecan pancakes with caramalised bananas, sweet cream and pancake syrup, and they were excellent. Big, fluffy, and perfect, they had an excellent flavour, and they’re really one to share, with the cream hitting the warm pancake and melting into a sauce. Get them to share if you’re more of a savoury brunch person, and my only criticism on this one is I wanted a lot more banana pieces, they were just too good!
So, those bacon sandwiches. These are not your average bacon sandwiches: candied bacon, sandwiched between perfect toast triangles with a glorious, unctuous béchamel sauce, with a pot of spiced bone marrow gravy on the side for prime dipping. Yes, they were as good as they look, if not better. There is a good amount of bacon, the gravy is rich and savoury, and the sauce brings the whole thing together to be just the right balance of rich, indulgent and gooey – cheese would have been too much, this is just right. Unless you’re very good with rich food, I’d recommend sharing a pile of these between the two of you, to go with something else. But do order these, if you don’t, you are seriously missing out!
While not on our table, the good thing about a bloggers brunch is it is totally acceptable to photograph other tables food, and as we’re highlighting what is different at Mac &Wild from anywhere else in London for brunch, I want to draw your attention to the Scottish breakfast: home-cured bacon, a homemade tattie scone (which looks so beautifully light and fluffy, I want to go back for one), white pudding, black pudding, mushroom, scrambled eggs and Lorne sausage (a Scottish square sausage made of meat, rusk and spices that I really want to try. A nice alternative to a standard Full English.
The ‘Wild Brunch’ at Mac & Wild was a breath of fresh air, and one I’d really make the effort to try. You can only get it Saturday’s, but it is available in both their Fitzrovia and Liverpool Street branches, whichever works best for you. You won’t need to book at the moment, but I’d recommend you do anyway, because I don’t think those sandwiches are going to stay a secret for long! Oh, and you can read Rosie’s post from our brunch here!