Skip brekkie for a hipster brunch
Fancy a lie in? Hit that snooze button, body swerve the granola and dive into avo and eggs at Reading's super-stylish Malmaison.
Starting the day with coffee and prosecco is what dreams are made of. Malmaison Reading has just launched a brunch menu and we were first in line to tell them how we like our eggs in the morning.
A slick hotel, bar and brasserie slap bang in the middle of Reading – right opposite the railway station. You’ve probably passed it a thousand times without realising. Yes, it’s a stunning white grade II listed period building, but it’s not showy. Originally built by rock star of the railways Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it’s now a hipster hangout for drinkers, diners and anyone looking for a stylish sleepover.
Neon signs, exposed brick walls, industrial details, gallery wall of mirrors – it’s got every Instagram-worthy nook and cranny covered.
Buzzy but grown up – it was busy all day from 12pm so it’s not the sort of place you’ll be taking your hyperactive toddler. It’s the sort of place I’d book in for a long lunch with a girlfriend. In the evening I’d imagine a more hip vibe, especially in the bar where the music cranks up.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Let’s start with the quaffing: it’s midday and there are corks popping for a bottomless brunch that begs you top up as often as you like with bubbles or beer (if that’s how you roll) for two hours. A bold move… let’s hope they have enough with Muddy in the house. A cute prosecco station is set up with different cordials, fresh fruits and juices. A nice touch if it’s a bit early to be knocking back vino.
The menu offers a great selection of brunch classics – eggs poached and scrambled, full English and waffles (still thinking about these bad boys) alongside more lunchy easy-peasy staples like a burger, steak and fish cake. Masquerading in the hipster zone, I opted for Eggs California – poached egg, smashed avocado and chilli, served on a toasted muffin. Seriously oozie eggs, portion sizes were good and for two hours you can keep topping up with fizz.
OUT AND ABOUT
Well, it’s Reading innit. You can hit the shops – Broad Street and The Oracle are nearby, head down to Riverside for the cinema and, for a cultural boost, checkout the shows at the Hexagon. To be fair, you’re a 25-minute train ride the big smoke, all abooooaaaard, if London’s calling, the list of things to do is endless.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: After work drinkies – you can fall out of Reading station and prop up the bar in seconds. Having breakfast, brunch or lunch with your bezzies or other half. Doing the day to night thing – the bar cranks up for cocktail hour and will keep the party going until late.
Not for: Young children. It’s not that they’re not welcome, but some places are simply best left to the grown ups.
£££: Excellent value I think. Bottomless brunch is £24.95. Cocktails are £9 in the main which is incredibly good value.