Ah Brunch, that special meal where it's equally acceptable to have pancakes, fries and prosecco all at the same time. But what about an Italian brunch? Would it still be the odd amalgamation that makes brunch so special? Well there was only one real way to find out and that was to head to the Italian restaurant Merchant in Mayfair to find out.
Oh and did I tell you it was £20 for three courses? Bet that sweetens the deal.
Mercante is actually part of the Park Lane Hotel, but I feel like you might miss it from the outside. I've actually walked past it a million times and yet I didn't recognise it. It was lunch time on a Sunday when we went and yet sadly the place was dead.
The restaurant is a gorgeous mix of bight, bold colours and quickly little features like old pictures and a few bits of Italian memorabilia.
In the corner of the restaurant they carve the meats to order which I always think is a great sign.
Now let me talk you think what I believe is a pretty sweet deal. The brunch menu is a short menu of around 6 items per course, with classic Italian dishes like piadina with robiola cheese, roast vegetables, truffle oil and pappa al pomodoro, eggs & basil. But it's only £15 for two courses for £20 for 3 courses which for London I think is marvellous. Plus I was taking my parents out for lunch so I wanted to show them that London isn't too bad...
Then for an extra £15 you can have bottomless prosecco, which of course I had to go for, although turns out I was the only one who went for this. Great example in front of the parents eh?
Pancakes? So you can get my typical brunch options.
Funnily enough I decided to not go for the pancakes and instead go for something more Italian. I went for the piadina with robiola cheese, roast vegetables, truffle oil, which is sort of like a quesadilla. The mixture of cheese and roast vegetables was really good and it just had the right amount of sea salt on it to bring out the charred of the vegetables.
When it came for the second course, everyone else went for the roast chicken, wild mushrooms and tarragon which did look really good. My mum said the sauce was delicious, although in her opinion it could have done with a little more as the chicken wasn't seasoned as much as maybe she would have done.
I decided to go for the roast porchetta as it was a Sunday and I'll be damned if I don't get my Sunday roast.
Simple flavours, yet when cooked well, pork doesn't need too much added to it. Plus they left the crackling on which always wins brownie points in my eyes.
I went in thinking the portions would probably be small, and yet they weren't at all, so did we really need a dessert? I think so.
Between the four of us we could muster enough room to fit some tiramisu and an amalfi lemon pot which to be honest when ordering I didn't think much of, but actually was so so good. So refreshing, it was a really good surprise.
I might have been the only one drinking the bottomless prosecco that day, but I could just about persuade everyone to have some Limoncello with me. If you haven't had it before, then boy are you missing out. It's a lemon liquor and has a sort of zing to it. It's best to get it fresh/ homemade though rather than the bottled stuff you can find in Tesco as that tends to be really sugary.
For £20 per person (and the extra £15 for my unlimited prosecco) we left very full and me, slightly drunk. Mercante is really a hidden gem and I hope it was just an off day being so quiet when we went, as it really is a great place to go for good Italian food at a very reasonable price.
Info: Mercante Brunch
Park Lane Hotel,
London W1J 7BX