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Words: Kayleigh Petrie
Perhaps the only thing worth getting out of bed for on a bitterly cold, windy winter’s Sunday is the promise of a bottomless brunch. And when you add ‘Caribbean’ to that promise, it’s enough to make you dance into the street.
Cottons, one of London’s best-established Caribbean restaurants, are taking brunch to tropical places. From Friday through Sunday, guests can bathe in soothing reggae played by in-house DJs, while slurping limitless ‘Rum Marys’.
Located on the sleepy Vauxhall riverbank amid modern residential towers, passers-by on a Sunday morning are predominantly hardened runners. However, fellow brunchers braving the cheek–reddening temperatures were greeted like old friends and quickly ushered in to the promising warmth of a Rum Mary – a Bloody Mary with a tropical twist.
Tempted by almost every item on the menu, especially the ‘big man ting’, we go for the Martinique toast with smoked bacon and crème fraiche and poached eggs with salmon flakes, hoping for a good mix of palate teasing and traditional flavours. No sooner had we ordered than the bottomless aspect of the brunch began. Our drinks arrived promptly and attentively, the waiter assiduously checking that the peppery flavours were to our satisfaction . Like Goldilocks’ third bowl, the peppery Rum Mary was just right, the mimosa fruity and crisp.
Both dishes presented a well-coordinated ambush of flavours. If it wasn’t for the superbly smoked bacon, the coconut shavings on the cake-like toast you’d be forgiven for thinking this was afternoon tea. Poached eggs perched atop salmon flakes is certainly not a brunch o’clock original nor particularly tropical; but it reflected a masterful understanding of what that dish should be. The eggs were cooked to perfection and when pierced, glooping out lovingly and glazing the rich pink smoked salmon beneath. Complemented by a spring onion garnish and traditional hollandaise sauce, the tongue was given a sharp tickle amidst all the smooth. If only we could cook like this at home, we sighed. The only criticism was that it would have been nice to see a fruitier and perhaps more Caribbean drinks option on the bottomless brunch. No doubt the extensive cocktail and rum menu (with over 250 rums) attend to that need on a by-the-glass basis.
Despite the sunny morning, the burgeoning development scene around neighbouring Nine Elms has an otherwise corporate grey feel. Thankfully Cottons provides a much-needed dash of colourful energy with plenty of reggae tunes and an illuminated outdoor seating area to bring some character into the area.
As we savoured the last drops of our final Rum Mary, we begrudgingly exchanged our comfortable window seats for the blustery board walk. It’s a tricky location to sell if you aren’t already close by – but if you are, Cotton’s will definitely ease you into your Sunday.
Cottons Vauxhall’s bottomless brunch and frunch is available all day every Friday, Saturday & Sunday with two hours of unlimited mimosas, prosecco OR Rum Marys added to any breakfast or brunch order.