From spending my last fiver on Waitrose olive oil to cashing in my tube pass money for a dash round Marks and Sparks’ food aisle, I’m always chasing that ‘how the other half live’ lifestyle. Brunching is no exception, you can keep your bacon and eggs (ok, give them back now), I only want the creme de la creme. So when the chance to dine at Eneko at One Aldwych came up, I cashed in all my chips and grabbed it with two hands, both feet and 32 teeth.
Venue and Atmosphere
Any trace of the former Morning Post headquarters has been erased at this space-age modern restaurant located in the basement of One Aldwych, a five star boutique hotel in Covent Garden. On the outside, the building is the sort of grandiose Edwardian structure that characterises central London but step through sliding doors for calm and measured modernity. An elevated brass staircase leads down into a circular restaurant, which despite its subterranean location is flooded with natural light from the upstairs windows.
It’s all smooth lines and curves in Eneko at One Aldwych; steel pillars hint at a previous industrial life while walls are light-bouncing pale grey, juxtaposed next to blocks of mottled black. High red booths encircle the space, so cosy and cut off, I could be back in the womb. Brunch starts at 12pm on a Saturday and while things were a little slow to kick off, groups of couples and people on a special weekend soon filtered in.
Food and Drink
Eneko Atxa is a pretty big deal in foodie circles mainly thanks to Restaurant Azurmendi, his flagship spot in Spain that has made grabs for the 'best restaurant in the world' title several times. His London outpost isn’t here to emulate the Basque beauty, rather it is an undone and more laid-back take on award-winning cuisine, something which has been considered with the introduction of a weekend brunch menu.
There is a brunch tasting menu for £50, but we went a la carte, which was split between street food, classics and grill. We kicked off with Oxtail on Milk Bread (£12), two bao-style buns of air-light softness stuffed with a drool-worthy short beef that was seriously rich. Suckling Pig Brioche (£9) was also bite-sized but huge on flavour, a sugar glazed bun which oozed with creamy mushroom emulsion and slow-cooked pork shoulder.
Mains came from the grill and while not particularly big, packed enough taste to leave us satisfied. Four chunks of monkfish (£20) had been seasoned with garlic, chilli and parsley for a light flavour, while the Txuleta (£27), was a board of bloody prime beef of rib, that simultaneously crunched with salt while melting in your mouth. All the mains were accompanied by, rather bizarrely, fries - not that I’m complaining - and a spring onion salad. Dessert was a little more high end, as a peanut sponge cake (£8) was topped with chocolate swirls and dark chocolate ice cream.
Drinks were mainly bubbly and juicy, perfect for something light in the afternoon. The welcome glass of Cava (£9) was from a Spanish vineyard; The Quince Bellini (£10) came with pear juicy, nocello (a walnut liquor) and quince jelly. My personal favourite, Etxano 75 (£10) was a sharp and refreshing drink with Spanish Gin Mare, lemon juice and cava.
Eneko at One Aldwych's brunch is incredible, to be expected from a man who has three Michelin stars; Eneko Atxa could heat up a tin of spaghetti hoops and it would taste delicious. Using simple ingredients and high quality meat, the food at the restaurant may not look like your average Michelin-starred fare, but it sure tastes like it.