I know it, they know it and you know it: there’s never been a better time to brunch in London. From cutesy corners in Kensington to industrial warehouse spaces in East London, unlikely hangouts all over the city have succumbed and the inevitable brunch bug has spread just about everywhere possible.
Even to the odd casino.
The Heliot Steak House
The Heliot Steak House, Bar & Lounge (a restaurant within the 24 hour Hippodrome Casino on Leicester Square) isn’t the most obvious place for a noteworthy brunch in Central London, but looking at their menu - perhaps it should be.
Overlooking the main casino and its grandiose stage, Heliot’s decadent setting is a unique one. Not only can you spy on the action from the 24-hour casino below, the building itself also fronts glitzy and garish 1930s design you won't find anywhere else in London. Primed for live performances, all-day gaming and an eclectic entertainment roster, the overarching Hippodrome Casino offers up something for just about everyone, at any time of day.
As their name suggests, Heliot Steak House are well known for their delicious hunks of meat, and as such they’ve applied that to their brunch menu too. As well as the more standard Eggs Benedict and smashed avocado options, they also offer Full English steak plates (priced between £16 - £21), as well as slightly more adventurous dishes spanning Goat Cheese Lollipops (£7), Lobster Ravioli (£16) and most temptingly, a ‘Meat Mountain Pancake Stack’ (£14).
An Instagram-worthy masterpiece with zero regard for your summer-ready calorie intake, dainty diners and the faint hearted should steer clear of the Meat Mountain. Made up of six pancakes, USDA prime steak strips, Cumberland sausages, streaky bacon and a duck egg - all topped with lashings of maple syrup so good it's tempting to smother yourself in the stuff - this is a big plate of food. Packed with flavour and succulent meats aplenty, everything works. If the fluffy American-style pancakes and chunky sausage slices weren't enough to send you over the edge, the juicy cuts of steak ensure only a few of us can make it through the entire thing - so don't expect to leave this place still hungry.
The menu comprises a selection of bespoke Bloody Marys to complement the dishes, but you can also order from the bar’s extensive cocktail and wine list too. If you're after a recommendation, go for the bitter-sweet ‘Spicy Senorita’ (£9.75) - it’s a heady mix of tequila, Cointreau, passion fruit pureé and chilli. You won't regret it.
Casinos aren’t the first place that spring to mind when looking for brunch recommendations - especially 24 hour establishments in the heart of one of London’s busiest areas - but the Heliot Steak House, Bar & Lounge is a good shout if you’re after something a little different. The food is delicious, the service is great and the venue has bucket-loads of its own character – there’s plenty to like about this Leicester Square gem.