Dare I confess that a weekday breakfast to me usually consists of some form of cereal bar, hurriedly consumed whilst sat at my desk. Although I must admit that this is due to my own sheer laziness to have that extra five minutes in bed of a morning. So, when the weekend arrives brunch seems so luxurious, the antithesis of my Monday to Friday fare. No need to race out of bed first thing and no need for any quick fix cereal solution, just pure indulgent, leisurely eating, my favourite kind.
Automat sells itself as the American diner experience, and was recently mentioned to me by a fellow foodie, so where better then to get my brunch fix when I was staying in central London for the weekend. It wasn’t quite as kitsch inside as i’d hoped but it did have the all important booth style seating which always gets me rather excited. It was certainly pretty popular and a great place for people-watching. Even the waiters themselves were rather interesting characters, the first looking like he’d had a bit too much of the old wacky baccy and the second having looked like he’d been let out for the day, harsh but true.
Although the menu was fairly lengthy, there wouldn’t normally be any contest for me in terms of what to order, the pancakes with berries and maple syrup would usually triumph every time. However, having woken up a little peckish and munched on an almond croissant, my sweet tooth had already been satisfied. Now this left me in somewhat of a quandary, to opt for more traditional brunch fare such as the classic eggs Benedict or to give something all American a whirl. As tasty as the thought of the mac ‘n’ cheese was I was sold on the idea of the soft shell crab ‘Po Boy’ sandwich with fries. Not something you’d find on your average brekkie menu. And when it arrived, two small whole crabs lightly battered, top marks to the man for having no shame in asking how we were meant to tackle eating said crustacean. And the answer was simple, the clue is in the name, the whole crab can be consumed. I was rather chuffed at this, no fiddling around trying to extract the crab meat and all the more food for greedy old me.
The man, meanwhile had his sights set firmly on the proper hearty breakfast option, the brunch burger, which consisted of, not merely a burger but also a sausage patty, bacon, fried egg, caramelized onions, cheese.. the list goes on. Oh, and not forgetting the healthy side of fried potatoes. This certainly isn’t an option for the faint-hearted or small of appetite, but it most definitely is a meal to set you up for the day. I think I can safely say that the man rather enjoyed it.
Overall, a fun brunch experience but I don’t think i’ll be in any rush to return as this is one pricey place, at over £50 for two meals, two coffees, two diet cokes and a bottle of water (inclusive of ‘discretionary’ 12.5% service charge).