It’s likely you’ve been to, or at least seen signs and ads for brunch, or its boozy cousin, bottomless brunch over the last few years. In fact, Google Trends tells us that searches for brunch have more than doubled in the last five years, while those for bottomless brunch have increased over 300%.
What do Brits love about brunch?
So, what is driving our obsession with a breakfast/lunch hybrid? One factor could certainly be the ‘anything goes’ nature of brunch menus – feeling like something sweet and dessert-y? Pancakes or waffles it is! Would you rather have eggs and bacon but in a tasty, fresh sourdough? Sold. Brunch menus by nature offer a broad choice and usually something for everyone, the added bonus of occasionally throwing in a glass of fizz has actually pushed them out of the pre-lunch time-slot and brunch is now something that you can expect to see all day – the upgraded all-day breakfast perhaps?!
For many pubs and restaurants, incorporating a brunch menu isn’t that tough as most of it is featured across other popular choices from other times of the day and if demand is high for people to access breakfast options beyond 10am, then why not give the people what they want?
Another factor, certainly in the last year, is a theme we’ve discussed in many of our blogs, which is that food and socialising has become the event – as a nation we’re actively seeking to be social and to celebrate with food more than ever. Brunch has become the adult equivalent of a McDonalds birthday party, with everyone who’s anyone booking one for
Brunch – a love affair for the ages
It’s a reasonable question to ask if brunch will soon be a casualty of the current rising cost of living as it’s certainly a luxury and a nice to have, not an essential. Recent data from Global Web Index suggests that of all the things we may give up in this country to help feel less of a pinch, going out to eat isn’t one of them. In fact:
“The UK is the least worried (compared to other countries) about spending money on going out to bars, restaurants and cinemas (21.8%) compared to France (43.6%), Germany (27.1%) and Italy (49.9%).”
So it certainly seems like we’re not quite ready to move on, so let’s take a look at some of the stars of the show from brunch menus nationwide.
One thing about brunch is that its marriage to ‘later in the day’ menu items means many breakfast classics are off the list – so if you’re looking for toast or porridge think again, unless you want something very fancy indeed!
We’ve pulled together some of our favourite brunch items. We may be biased but with brands that produce some of the very best sauces and condiments around, we like the ones that have a strong sauce factor – they make it really, don’t they?
The egg ones
Absolute staple here is eggs benedict! Perfectly cooked poached eggs, salty bacon or parma ham (insert your favourite meat here), hollandaise sauce and a toasted-to-perfection muffin. But brunch menus everywhere are branching out and if you fancy something else, there’s always a classic egg and avocado combination on some fresh, toasted bread, or a more adventurous Huevos Rancheros – a toasted tortilla served with eggs and salsa.
The sweet ones
Pancakes and waffles are a firm favourite on brunch menus across the country. We love the idea of dessert for breakfast and we think that’s one of the reasons it’s so popular, because brunch lets you break the rules! When it comes to sweetening up a dish, our research shows that chocolate is by far the favourite sweet sauce, followed by toffee then raspberry. Other favourites listed include salted caramel and strawberry sauce.
Of course there’s also savoury options, so there’s still something for everyone. Our favourites are the classic american with bacon and maple syrup or maybe if you’re into a more savoury selection, we’re seeing a huge rise in chicken and waffles as more US influences creep in.
The savoury favourites
There’s an endless array of savoury wonders for brunch menus; you’ve got classics like creamy mushrooms on toast, right through to more exotic spicy sweetcorn fritters and combi dishes like sausage/chorizo hash. Though for many, you can’t beat a classic all day breakfast, which is still a firm favourite!
However, with bottomless brunch offerings soaring in popularity, the traditional late morning timing of brunch no longer limits what you can eat for it or at what time. As such, bottomless brunch menus include dishes more commonly known for dinner time; meaning burgers, pizza and fried chicken are all on the menu as diners enjoy up to two hours of unlimited drinks alongside their dish.
When it comes to burgers, a simple beef patty won’t cut it, with chefs and restaurants getting creative with extras like bacon, mac and cheese, and egg when it comes to pilling their burgers high. To top it all off, the right sauce is needed to add another layer of flavour and tie the burger fillings all together. Our research has found that the most popular sauce for burgers is in fact burger sauce, followed by mayonnaise then BBQ. The classic tomato ketchup surprisingly came fifth in the rankings!
With brunch culture here to stay, we can’t wait to see how new food trends are interpreted to suit brunch dishes, as new flavours and ingredients work their way onto menus suited to all times of day. Watch this space for an update on future trends!
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