Edinburgh Restaurant Review: Brunch at O'Connors

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This is most definitely no Bloody Shame

O'Connors Edinburgh

2-4 Broughton Road



T: 0131 556 1024

There comes a point in life when you realise that you're old(er). It comes on gradually, obviously.

Restaurant review O'Connor's EdinburghRestaurant review O'Connor's Edinburgh
Restaurant review O'Connor's Edinburgh

First you start making creaking noises when you get up from a seat. Then you find yourself standing in a room and try and remember why you're there.

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Then a hangover starts lasting two (sometimes, gulp, three) days and this is when drastic remedial action must be taken.

Restorative food

Those days of being able to party until dawn and then swigging down a large espresso and a bacon roll before heading in to do a full days work are behind you now.

O'connors Brunch dishesO'connors Brunch dishes
O'connors Brunch dishes

You have to start looking out prophylatic paracetamol and water before leaving the house and the thought of a greasy bacon roll makes your stomach lurch. Instead you have to source quality hangover food.

I, smugly, thought I had all that sorted.

The lovely Bluebird Cafe near me does a breakfast burrito that, frankly, has Lazarus-like qualities.

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It could always be relied upon to get me to face the day. But that has now been snatched from my grasp.

Minute steak, scrambled eggs and asparagusMinute steak, scrambled eggs and asparagus
Minute steak, scrambled eggs and asparagus

New opening hours mean that, gasp, there are no weekend burritos - or Nutella scones or buttermilk pancakes. It's not *quite* the end of the world as they are open Monday to Friday - but my advancing decrepitude means that even I ca' canny during the working week.

So when I found myself with an unexpectedly socially fraught weekend. I thought it might be sensible to plan ahead and sort out restorative food in advance.

O’Connors Edinburgh

Luckily, as one door closes, another opens and nearby establishment O'Connors had launched their new brunch menu.

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The day in question dawned a gloriously bright - too bright, too too bright - and sunny early Spring day and it was thought (not by me) that a bracing walk would be in order.

Well, there was a walk, but I can't testify to it's bracing properties. What I do know is that the park was busy with couples hand in hand and dog walkers.

Bloody Mary Beans on toasted sourdoughBloody Mary Beans on toasted sourdough
Bloody Mary Beans on toasted sourdough

Plenty of the dog walkers seemed to find their way with us to O'Connors (it's a *very* dog friendly establishment.) to try out the new menu.

The menu

There really is only one drink to have for a hangover brunch - the Bloody Mary (£8) – although there was a laughable attempt at our table to get some non-alcoholic versions (aka A Bloody Shame) You are asked to pick how spicy you want your drink on a scale of one to ten – one being ultra mild and ten being stag night levels of bravery/stupidity.

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I started with a five, thinking that would be a nice average. Actually, it tasted quite mild and I went up to a seven for my second. I'm told that their Bloody Mary tastes so rounded because they have port in their recipe.

Not something I'd ever tasted before - and I don't know that I would have had I known in advance. But it really works - giving a real depth of flavour and balancing out what is sometimes overpowering spiciness.

While there was lemon and plenty of pepper and Worcestershire sauce, the lack of a celery stalk seemed an odd oversight.

Brunch is an odd meal.

Many people consider it to be a light snack style repast rather than the substantial feed that it is surely supposed to be.

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I mean, if you've missed breakfast and are a shade too early for lunch, you're not going to nibble on some crispbread to keep you going until dinner time.

And, if you're using this meal as hangover recovery, then you need proper portions, no? O'Connors has obviously thought this through - their portions are substantial indeed.

The meal

Eggs Royale (£8.95) toasted muffins with two poached eggs, topped with smoked salmon, spinach and hollandaise sauce. Automatically my tick box filled.

I’ve tried many such offerings all over the world with mixed response.

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Any apprehension was dispelled however, when my plate arrived.

Chef Mitch freshly whisks up his own hollandaise as required. An unctuously, buttery, lemon infused genius. Combine this with plenty of fresh spinach, properly wilted rather than soggy and slimy - an wildly generous portion of smoked salmon along with perfectly fresh poached eggs and all boxes are ticked.

Mr Turner however was humming and hawing. (No change there then). Whenever he is presented with full traditional breakfast options, he struggles to look anywhere else on the menu.

But he steeled himself and decided to go off piste

Well – not too far off piste. Quelle surprise, he chose steak. Admittedly, a minute steak (£8.95) served with asparagus and scrambled egg.

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Minute steak is a tricky choice to include on a menu unless you know what you’re doing. Thinly cut beef, sans fat from the denser part of the beast, cooked quickly on high heat.

It requires good quality ingredients, correct seasoning and precise cooking. The chances of you being served a couple of slices of tough shoe leather are quite high.

Thankfully the steak was rested before serving, allowing the flavours to out.

The creamy and well seasoned eggs combined with an inspired or fortuitous pea shoot garnish raised this plate above and beyond its cheap cuts billing.

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To my palate the only wrong note in the whole dish was the asparagus, which I love, but to my taste this was a tad overdone.

It did rather spoil his notion of dipping shoots into my fine hollandaise sauce as the drooping stalks weren’t that malleable.

Even thought the steak was beautifully cooked, Mr. Turner did find himself having to saw his way though the dish.

Not to cast one iota of approbation on a fine and well presented dish – it was his cutlery. Truly I have seen sharper throw cushions.

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Following some bizarre male logic of not mixing his drinks, Mr Turner had also spotted Bloody Mary beans on the menu.

Bloody Mary beans on toasted sourdough (£6.95) haricot and cannelloni beans baked in a Bloody Mary sauce.

I must admit that beans on toast for breakfast, or indeed brunch has never appealed to me. I’ve seen it on plenty of menus, but always thought it a little uninspired for a kitchen to produce.

I mean, even I can toast some bread and open a can.

However, the variety our chef served up was most definitely not available in a can.

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A rich tomato based sauce, enhanced with a healthy dose of smoked paprika, atop a quality, toasted sourdough laid the base note. Cherry tomatoes infused with Tabasco provided the high end.

Piquant, yet not too hot. My only regret again was the absentee celery, however, a small gripe in an otherwise wonderful experience.

Final thoughts?

The good news is that I’ve definitely found my replacement hangover solution, but does this mean that I would be more – or less – likely to get a hangover in the first place?

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