I remember my first brunch. I was about 11 and lived in Worcestershire with my mum and dad (obviously). We had a full English breakfast, as we often did at the weekends, and eating at 10am my mum called it brunch.
“What’s brunch?” we asked.
She explained that brunch was an amalgamation of breakfast and lunch, a meal you eat mid-morning, and we nodded along feeling ever so fancy chomping on our sausages and glugging our orange juice.
I didn’t pay much heed to brunch since, until I visited New York two and a half years ago. Visiting my friend Kirsty we spent our evenings in bars, our mornings sleeping in and our mid-mornings – you guessed it – brunching. Because it is a verb as well, you know.
During my trips back to NY this year is was even more prevalent, I think I only ate one lunch the whole time. The rest of the time I brunched, feasting on eggs, kale, avo toast, mimosas and bloody marys. I bloody love brunch: interesting food PLUS it’s acceptable to sneak in a tipple. What’s not to like, eh?
The brunch movement has stretched so far that even us serfs in Milton Keynes have started to cotton on. As a family we love to brunch at Carluccios or a lovely canalside pub, The Navigation. Yum-my. It’s interesting to think that something that seemed soooo cosmopolitan as a kid is such a normal part of my children’s lives.
We spread our brunch wings this weekend en route to our Lapland UK experience. I’d been invited to try the brunch offering at Riverlight, a riverside restaurant that has excellent quality, local food at its core. Located in South Buckinghamshire near to Marlow they have a prime position next to the harbour in Bourne End – where my mum used to live.
Riverlight is owned and operated by James, the man behind local Coffee Shop and Roasters Coopers Trading Company (check their Instagram for some INSANE coffee art), and he was there to welcome us and chat about their food when we visited on Sunday.
Their brunch menu hits the spot for me; not too long, not too short, chock full of brunch classics with something for everyone. I decided to challenge them and ordered the one thing I am insanely fussy about, scrambled eggs. This came with home-cured bacon on white bloomer bread. Elfie chose her favourite of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon (she’s well classy) and Hux chose pancakes with chocolate sauce because CHOCOLATE.
We were seated next to the river-view windows which, if there’s a body of water close to a restaurant, is always my favourite place to sit. Maybe it’s being born by the sea or growing up by a river? I just love it: boats, harbours, locks, the lot. Despite it being a drizzly miserable day the light in the restaurant was beautiful and I thought it a lovely calming place to be.
The super friendly staff soon brought our food over (you know they’re good when they’ll spend ages talking to your children about Father Christmas) and we tucked in.
Firstly, my home-cured bacon was ALL the incredibles. Smokey, sweet and a little bit charred: god, it was good. I immediately came home and Googled ‘how to cure your own bacon’. Seriously life changing stuff if you like a good bit of pork as much as me (ooer). The scrambled eggs passed my test with flying colours (here’s my scrambled egg recipe… SO GOOD) and the bloomer was beautifully toasted, not too hard, not too soft.
When I could stop Elfie from pinching my bacon she gave her smoked salmon and scrambled eggs a taste – it came all mixed up which she loved. Her plate was soon cleared and she tried to move on to mine (no chance).
Hux loved his pancakes and really enjoyed being in charge of tipping the little pot of homemade chocolate sauce all over them. He finished his brunch absolutely covered – the sign of an excellent meal.
Overall this was the best brunch we’ve had in ages. I love how so much thought had gone into sourcing the food – fresh homebaked bread, ‘proper’ tea from Cornwall, local meat and coffee beans roasted in-house. ‘Foodie Weekend In Marlow’ is on my to-do list for 2016 and I’ll definitely be back to Riverlight when I make that happen.
Thanks for having us, James and Riverlight! See you soon.
Riverlight Restaurant, Wharf Lane, Bourne End, SL68 5RR. 01628 532 626 or book online.