SECRET BRUNCH AWARDS
NAC - North Audley Cantine
Next it was time for the brunch classic, Eggs Benedict, served with crispy bacon instead of the traditional ham. It worked very well. The poached egg resting on top of the toasted English muffin were cooked to perfection and had a smooth velvety consistency. The lemon in the bearnaise sauce was perhaps slightly too tangy, but overall it definitely did do the trick.
NAC started to really grab our attention. The restaurant's naivity on 'first impression' was starting to be overshadowed by the quality and substance.
Poached Eggs & Avocado Toast was next in line.
Resting on warm and crusty French bread, lay slivers of sliced and pureed avocado, with a beautifully prepared poached egg. Chilli flakes expertly dusted on the top, made for a welcoming kick towards the end.
2 0 1 5 F I N A L I S T : NAC
North Audley Cantine or NAC, as it is more commonly referred to, is a French bistro, tucked away from the hoards of Saturday shoppers. The venue is a small split level space, with a cocktail lounge in the basement, decorated with an interesting industrial style light fixtures and exposed brick walls.
NAC is the potential underdog amongst our nine other finalists. So the pressure was on to see how their brunch menu delivered against the big names of the industry. Could the new kid on the block stand up against the giants?
The 'work in progress' was evident on arrival. A fairly long wait at the door, during a not so busy time of the day. Eventually the hostess found time to have us seated.
A little more wait, we were then greeted by our waiter. He recommended that we should work our way backwards through the menu, starting with a Salad, followed by the eggs and pancakes.
First to arrive was the Quinoa & Salmon Salad. A decent sized portion with a fresh fusion of flavours. The pomegranate and cherry tomatoes drizzled lightly with a lemon dressing and chopped parsley. The zesty lemon and tartness of the pomegranate gave the salmon a surprising presence amongst the flavours.
But be warned. This really is a dish for avocado lovers and not for the faint hearted!
We were told trying out the Truffled Mac & Cheese was a must. It definitely was a good advice. Breaking through the golden crust and revealing the creamy texture, with the familiar truffle scent, the Mac & Cheese was a winner!
Feeling satisfied and ready to call it a day, our waiter was keen for us to try out the Cajun Chicken. Sort of recommendation we wished to have received at the start of our day. Reluctant to say no, we gave it a go.
The free range Cajun Chicken was phenomenal and probably one of the best we have tasted. The chicken was soft and cooked to perfection. It was marinated in butter, olive oil, and the secret recipe sauce, garnished with fresh chopped tomatoes and presented beautifully. The slight kick we got from the spices in the sauce was enough to bring in all the flavours together, and still appeal to anyone who’s not a fan of spicy food.
We ended the day with layers and layers of ricotta pancakes and dulce de leche, which was a creamy caramel sauce, made of slowly heated and sweetened milk. Tucked pieces of banana gave it that extra freshness, and was superb.
Deciding on an alcohol free afternoon, we tried a selection of juices on offer. The Jasmine ice tea is the one that you can’t miss. The freshness and delicate flavor of the Jasmine, easily compliments your entire experience, and is an excellent digestive after a day of feasting.
S U M M A R Y
NAC may be the least recognisable name in this competition. It may also be lagging behind the other finalists in terms of professionalism in service and experience. However, the North Audley Cantine justifies it's place amongst the finalists by what matters the most, the food.
If you are after simple good honest food, with a homely feel, NAC is the place to brunch.
The menu, put together by the head chef Jeremy Coste, would appeal to anyone who is keen on experiencing a delicious fusion of modern French and European delights, in the heart of London.
Our Verdict: Simple, good, honest food
Price: Ranging from £6 to £17
Service: Room for improvement
Will we go back? Yes
Vote HERE to crown NAC as your 2015
Voting closes on 5th of December 2015.