My friend, who I’ve known since school, is half-Swiss and it’s not an understatement to say that she has liquid cheese running through her veins. So I’ve had my fair share of fondue over the years and will never miss the chance of a good ‘ol dunking. Haugen’s fondue brunch has been on my radar since it opened in September 2021, and it promises authentic Alpine fare, fun vibes and décor that wouldn’t look out of place on the slopes of Austria. Its name is even a cute nod to an unsung hero of the first Winter Olympics and a celebration of London 2012.
The building itself is a towering establishment that occupies the corridor in between Westfield and The London Stadium, next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It’s an absolute beauty; think sustainably sourced wooden beams with huge panes of glass. With such architectural brilliance on show, it’s no surprise that Haugen is brought to you by D&D London, who also include 100 Wardour Street, 14 Hills and Bluebird in their portfolio.
The three floors take you from breakfast through to evening cocktails, with a downstairs deli, first-floor restaurant (including two private dining areas) and a rooftop bar. We visited on a chilly and rainy Sunday afternoon but can imagine how gorgeous the terrace is in the summer.
Our meal took place in the restaurant which was all glammed up for winter, featuring twinkling lights, faux fur throws and Christmas trees galore. The DJ played laidback house tunes, with a live saxophone and guitar thrown in for good measure. We kicked things off by having a bloody mary each (£11) - a perfectly balanced tipple with just the right amount of spicy Tabasco. It went down a treat.
The three-course fondue brunch (£30 per person) sees you pick a starter and dessert, with a choice of mountain fondue for the main. To get the ball rolling, my date opted for eggs Arlington, similar to eggs Benedict but with salmon instead of ham. I took my time with the burrata, but that’s only because it was so delish; the sweet sauce complemented the soft, creamy cheese and the little figs were a great touch. For the main, we went for the classic cheese fondue which combined appenzeller, gruyere, emmental and Fribourg vacherin with white wine and garlic. The portions are generous, as we were given two plates of Tirolean-smoked speck and coppa ham, garnished with pickled onions and salty, crunchy cornichons. Being the carb lover that I am, I made a beeline straight to the chunks of bread and perfectly seasoned new potatoes. Our advice on the ideal dunking technique? Twist it just like you would spaghetti and make a rose shape with the meat to mop up the cheese sauce.
We closed the brunch with the festive apple strudel which was a dead cert for one we recently sampled in Vienna; a flaky, cinnamon-spiced delight dusted with snowy icing sugar. The twice-baked cheesecake was accompanied by a tangy berry compote, and my date and I, curd nerds in common, basically fought over every last bite.
The DesignMyNight Digest
You read that right, I did indeed pick cheese for starter, main and dessert. And I won’t apologise for doing so. Haugen is a must for those who hanker for dairy delights in a stunning Alpine oasis, right in the heart of East London. Tradition states that if you accidentally drop your cube in the sauce, you must buy a round of schnapps for your party. We thankfully we didn’t this time (it was 1pm Sunday after all) but we can easily imagine a naughty so-and-so doing it on purpose. We’ll sure be coming back to see Haugen in summer, where you’ll find us on the rooftop with a spritz in hand.
💰 The damage: £82 excluding service.
📍 The location: 9 Endeavour Square, Stratford, London, E20 1JN
👌 Perfect for: A quirky Sunday afternoon with your fizz-loving friends, or a swanky post-match treat.
⭐ Need to know: try and get a window seat towards West Ham's ground and watch the world go by.
Fancy a bit more fondue? Check out London’s best dunking destinations here.