Brunch is great isn’t it? It’s like breakfast only without the wake up call. One day maybe I’ll grow up to be one of those people that sets their alarm at weekends and does all they need to do before 10am. But for now I love not having to set my alarm, rolling out of bed whenever I please and finding food to carry on a laid back approach to the day.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t think to go to the Mailbox for brunch; it’s in the city centre and I’m usually straying into lunch territory by the time I get to town, but I’ve managed to get to Gas Street Social a few times for brunch now. Despite confusingly not being on the road it’s named after, Gas Street Social opened in the Mailbox earlier in the year and has become popular ever since. Decor wise it has that sort of industrial look that seems to be pretty popular and toilets which have been built with enough wood (though thankfully not the loo seats) it looks like a carpenter’s dream. Given that it’s a venue brought to you by the Shaker Consultancy lot, there is understandably a decent bar and cocktail offering and well as lunch/dinner menus. They’ve also been doing brunch there for a while, I know because I’ve been a few times now – and an all day breakfast for lunch once too. You can’t say I haven’t thoroughly tested this one!
One of the selling points for Gas St Social’s brunches is their bottomless Bellini or Mimosa offer. For £15 you get two hours worth of refillable prosecco cocktails; with orange juice as a Mimosa, it’s basically the fancy name for a Bucks Fizz; or peach puree, also known as a Bellini, or possibly apricot puree if, like my friends managed, you drink them out of the peach stuff.
If a champagne brunch isn’t your thing then they also offer non-alcoholic drinks. Listed under restorative drinks is a half pint of Berocca, which is appearing on a few city brunch menus, and seems a clever choice particularly if you’re feeling a little delicate from the night before. There are also cold pressed fresh juices, which are listed as freshly made in Shropshire and whilst these are tasty and packed with flavour there’s something which a little disappointing about a cocktail bar not making them up fresh on site.
Anyway, the food! The menu has pretty much most things you want from a brunch menu, from pancakes and pastries to granola and various sizes of English breakfasts. I particularly like the concept of the social breakfast, which serves four and looks like it has plenty of food. My mum was pleased to see granola and a fruit platter on there, which is pretty much what she has for breakfast daily…the idea of treating yourself when going out for brunch is lost on her.
The first time I headed down (and when I took these photos) I went with my friend Beccy who had the bacon and scrambled egg on toast, which she enjoyed. I went for the Gas St Works which comes with two rashers of bacon, two Cumberland sausages, eggs (I went for scrambled), roasted plum tomato, Gas Street Social beans, black pudding, flat mushroom, sautéed potatoes and toast. On paper it seems like a heck of a lot of food but in reality it felt managable. The sausages and eggs were all lovely; the eggs had a nice creamy texture and the meat had a good texture and they seem to have given up on the idea of streaky bacon with a full breakfast – good, leave that to Americanised pancake breakfasts, if you have to.
Whilst on the whole it was a pretty decent breakfast there were a couple of disappointments. The baked beans have herbs in them, I forget which ones because frankly I want to block that memory…it just didn’t work for me at all, and I wasn’t the only one. Also, black pudding featured quite regularly in fried breakfasts in our house growing up (it might be an Irish thing, my dad loved it) so I appreciate the stuff but this one just felt powdery to me and I wasn’t overly keen. That said, there are certainly more hits than misses on this breakfast and I’ve happily eaten it again since.
Gas Street Social’s brunch is an extensive and well thought out offering. There’s almost certainly something there to suit everyone and the setting is such that it is an ideal place to meet friends for a catch up over brunch (can we still mention Sex and the City, it totally has that sort of vibe). Whilst I wasn’t overly keen on all elements of the full breakfast it’s somewhere I’ve been back to for brunch several times and would be happy to continue.
Disclosure: I was invited down to Gas Street Social to try a complimentary brunch when it first launched and as usual wasn’t required to be nice about anything. It has taken me so long to write this up that I’ve managed to subsequently get there twice since – I’d say I’ve paid both time but in reality my mum paid for once…don’t judge me.