Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings is the restaurant version of one of my favourite bars in Central London. The décor is similar with B&H Buildings keeping the cost sitting room feel albeit with a slightly more modern approach. And as you’d expect, the cocktail list is interesting and tempting. However, that’s about all the two have in common which means B&H Buildings is a bit of a mixed bag – it’s got potential but at the moment it’s got a ways to go.
What you need to know:
- Make sure to confirm you reservation – mine seemed to have got lost somehow
- The food is delicious but you may have to wait a while to get it
- If you’re doing the bottomless options, get in early as they seem to have a limited amount
- The bar/lounge area is better suited to a chat with a drink than a meal
Food: ★★★★☆ Service: ★★☆☆☆ Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆ Value: ★★★☆☆ Overall: ★★★☆☆
There isn’t much in the area, particularly if you’re headed there for brunch. In the evenings, you can try a bar in Exmouth Market (I recommend the cocktail bar below Paesan) otherwise it’s best to grab a pub near Farringdon station and trek over together.
What to eat?
We were there to try out the new brunch menu with bottomless mimosas so this isn’t a comment on their dinner offerings. I’ve heard mixed things about dinner, but brunch was spectacular. Del and I ordered the braised beef hash with HP mayo and an Eggs Royale. Both dishes were beautifully presented and boasted a great depth of flavour. The only issue was the size: this was approaching a tapas style meal rather than a hearty brunch! From what we could see, this is the case with most dishes except the full English.
After powering through my hash (that beef was tender and tasty but gone in three bites), I was still a bit hungry which I attempted to remedy by ordering some French toast with bacon (and a sausage for Del). Unfortunately, it only arrived after a 45 minute wait and twice chasing the waiter to find out what had happened to it. It was excellent – possibly one of the best French Toasts I’ve had in London – but I’d be hard pressed to say anything was worth that wait.
How about those bottomless drinks?
For brunch, you have the option of bottomless bellinis for £16 or bottomless bloody marys for £15. There is also a more a la carte cocktail menu (which did look appealing), but we felt like a boozy one so went with the mimosas.
A number of things to note here. First, while there are a couple of options, they quickly ran out of everything but the peach bellini. Not a problem in itself, but since these are premixed and let standing in jugs it seemed that the heavy peach puree settled to the bottom which meant the first couple of glasses were quite boozy while the second half of the pitcher was mainly cloyingly sweet puree. Plus the staff were quite hard to flag down for a refill (despite us sitting at the bar) so it’s a bit of your challenge to get your money’s worth. Still, perhaps it was due to it only being the second weekend of brunch so maybe they’ll get their staffing up to spec shortly.
Also, if you order the bellinis then you are stuck with that choice – you can’t switch over to bloody marys which seems a bit odd given almost every other boozy brunch place gives you that option.
Worth the dosh?
Another hard one here. Mains were in the £8-10 range which isn’t too bad. However, that’s only enough if you’re looking for a light to medium breakfast. If you want a hearty brunch you’ll need a couple of dishes which pushes B&H Buildings into a higher price bracket by my standards. Plus, we were supposed to be there on a soft opening 50% off deal, but since they didn’t have the reservation and seemed a bit surprised when we asked, we ended up paying full price. This came to around £32pp including service for 3 dishes and bottomless bellinis for two.
Given the challenge and inconsistency in the bellinis, I didn’t feel it worth the money to pay the £16. I’d rather get a cocktail or two (at £8-9 apiece) which would be more satisfying and much less frustrating.
Overall, it was a decent experience but not something I’ll make the journey for given the strong brunch offerings in town. And given the out of the way location, I can’t say I’ll be back.
Find B&H Buildings here