Today I am just two days away from my fortieth birthday. One of my closest friends is taking me for a surprise brunch at an undisclosed location.
We arrive on Marylebone High Street and a few possibilities spring to mind – The Ivy Cafe or Daylesford perhaps? We’re then standing outside Fischer’s, somewhere I’ve read a lot about recently, but hadn’t clocked the location. I am both excited and thrilled at my friend’s choice.
This place is run by the Delaunay/Wolseley /Brasserie Zedel gang so they know what they’re doing particularly when it comes to morning foods.
The cafe has a distinctly nostalgic feel. Dark wood and brass are surrounded by vintage pictures from Germany and Austria. A huge clock dominates the dining area, and you almost feel you could be in a European train station cafe of yesteryear.
We are here for breakfast but like the group’s other outposts the vibe is informal, despite the stunning setting. One table are having lunch while another finishes a leisurely plate of poached eggs and pastries.
In another surprise twist my friend’s parents and sister turn up to join us in the celebrations. More dishes for me to view then….
Granola, fruit and muesli are all on offer but I’m not here to eat that I’m afraid. There’s so much to choose from – a sausage sandwich, rosti, kippers and pancakes. Three of the group go for an omelette offered with a selection of fillings.
I choose the Eggs Arlington (smoked salmon) which is one of the best versions of the dish I have ever had. Its delicious – the poached eggs are perfectly cooked and the smoked salmon generous.
So if you’re in a Viennese cafe, to not eat some form of pastry would be criminal. We ponder the menu and question the lovely Hungarian waiter about some of the items we don’t recognise.
I remember in Great British Bake Off when the contestants made something called a Gugelhupf. I can still recall Mel and Sue delighting in this rather fabulous word. I want to try it so choose an exotic pineapple & coconut variety. Fearing it might be dry I am pleasantly surprised. The inside is full of delicious pineappley jammy goodness, the ultra moist sponge is covered in coconut. I need to return to eat this again.
Other sweet treats around the table included Florentines, an epic strawberry and custard doughnut and a raspberry Benedict.
There is so much to choose on this day-to-night menu you could return here many times for a variety of meals and occasions.
There are German and other Mittel European wines on offer plus a dizzying array of coffees and teas.
If my birthday celebrations continue in this vain I will be very happy indeed. I am off to Amsterdam tomorrow so hope to share some of my culinary discoveries on my return.