Its been ages since I informed any of you dear readers where I’ve been eating lately – I mostly give up as its far too difficult to keep up with the foodie trends (and I’m not interested in enjoying a wonderful meal and then rushing home to write the blog to ensure I’m ahead of the game). I am a lazy blogger!
But when a meal tickles my fancy – sometimes for no particular reason I’ll post it. I think with this one it was the fact that it was on the 29th floor. Might as well have been on platform 9 ¾ – I think I’m there about as often as I’m on the 29th floor of anything.
Dull highrises don’t often feel that way from the inside, but the entry to Altitude’s Gospel Brunch did feel a bit like going into the office on a Sunday. Passing through a reception desk, up we went where I was told by my friend that the dulcet tones ofLondon’s Community Gospel Choir would sweep me away while I ate a Soul Food themed brunch.
Altitude is not a normal operating restaurant – while it runs high tea and brunch on Sundays, it is also available for corporate receptions, weddings and meetings and felt this ‘blank canvas’ atmosphere when you entered. Lovely views, but a little clinical for somewhere attempting to embody the delicious excess of both gospel music and southern food.
I was also sceptical, upon entry regarding the crowd this event had attracted. Our black choir singers were complimented by a large crowd of white, affluent west Londoners. My dining companion was one of the few non-white patrons in the venue, and it all felt a bit weird at first. This brunch was not serving those who live, eat and breathe gospel – but those who have an interest and would like to be exposed. No bad thing – but the disconnect between the venue, the patrons and the performers was immediately apparent.
If I had concerns, however – the performers from the LCGC immediately dispelled them. They came around to each table, warmly greeting all of us and asking for requests. They broke through the divide between patrons and performers and I had a great time both speaking to them and listening to them sing. Showboat that I am, the highlight of my day was when I got to grab the microphone and sing a verse of ‘this little light of mine’ – full points for participation.
The food was good. Huge portions, and my carmelised banana French toast exceeded my expectations. My companion’s large chorizo omelette was good, but let down by the use of pre-cooked and sliced chorizo as opposed to the more crumbly version. However I was really impressed by the quality of the food. There were wider brunch options including a massive portion of ribs and waffles available as well.
The menu had a surprising air of authenticity I’m not used to seeing inLondonattempts at imitating regional American cuisine. Brown sugar corn bread andMississippimud pie are not menu items I’m used to seeing outside of theUSA.
My favourite aspect of the brunch was that it all felt completely unrushed and relaxed. My friend and I chatted alternatively, fell silent while we listened to the performance, stared out the windows – exactly as brunch should be. We forgot the rest of the world for a little while and that’s exactly the point of brunch.
Altitude holds their gospel brunch weekly on Sundays at £49/pp including at least 3 sets by the London Community Gospel Choir. The Millbank Tower is just down from the Tate Britain, nearest tube is Pimlico