The word “brunch” is a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch.” It’s thought to have first appeared in print in an 1895 article in Hunter’s Weekly, a British magazine.
In the late 19th century, breakfast was shifting from an early morning meal to a mid-morning meal on Sundays. So instead of eating breakfast early and lunch mid-afternoon, people started eating both meals consecutively later in the morning.
Brunching In London
London has a thriving café and restaurant scene, with intense competition, leading to many establishments serving creatively designed brunch menus to stand out.
Reserving a weekend brunch table in advance is now often essential at hot spots. Many restaurants have special brunch events with live music as well. Brunch has become a social occasion that brings friends and family together frequently.
So in summary, weekend brunch is now closely tied to London’s competitive and inventive restaurant scene, as well as its professional culture and love of posh experiences.
The Delectable Sights and Flavors of a Turkish Brunch
I don’t consider myself an avid brunch enthusiast. I do enjoy experiencing all sorts of creative delights that London’s restaurants have to offer though.
This past weekend I experienced an incredible Turkish brunch that blew my eggs benedict obsession out of the water.
Me and some of my Family headed to Bursa Kebap Evi, a Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurant in London. As soon as I entered, the welcoming staff, vibrant hanging lamps, and aroma of freshly baked bread made me feel at home. I took my seat and that’s when the feast began.
Out came a parade of small colorful plates presenting an incredible variety of Turkish breakfast essentials. There was kaymak – a moreish thick clotted cream, mild feta and salty ewe’s milk cheeses, golden dollops of honey and homemade fruit jams. Savory selections included spicy beef sujuk sausage, crispy borek pastries, and menemen – soft scrambled eggs cooked with tomato, parsley and spices.
Two stand-out dishes for me were the kaymak with honey and the gozleme stuffed flatbreads. I couldn’t stop drizzling more of that creamy sweet kaymak onto my breads!
To drink, I sipped on fragrant Turkish tea and one of the thickest, strongest, and most aromatic coffee, and that perfectly completed the dining experience.
The variety of mouthwatering small dishes opened me up to flavors much more intriguing than the standard bacon and eggs. It’s an incredible, communal-style meal that I would recommend to anyone looking to switch up their brunch experience!
Turkish eggs (Cilbir)
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
2. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, and mint and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes until slightly reduced. Set aside.
3. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Carefully break the eggs into the pan and fry until the egg whites are just set but the yolks are still runny. Season with salt and pepper.
4. To serve, place some of the tomato sauce into bowls. Top with 2-3 fried eggs per bowl.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, paprika, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Drizzle the spiced yogurt over the top of each serving.
6. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread and hot sauce if desired.
Turkish Menemen Breakfast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tomatoes, diced or 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pinch ground cumin
1⁄4 cup feta cheese (optional)
Chopped parsley or dill to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Crusty bread for serving
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.
2. Add red pepper and garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat if garlic browns.
3. Add tomatoes, paprika, red pepper flakes and cumin. Stir to combine. Cook for 5-6 minutes until tomatoes soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Make wells spaced apart in the tomato mixture. Carefully crack the eggs into the wells. Cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes until eggs whites are cooked but yolks are still runny.
5. Top off eggs with crumbled feta cheese if desired. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs like parsley or dill.
6. To serve, place some Menemen onto serving plates along with a slice of crusty bread like sourdough or focaccia to dip into the eggs and sauce. Enjoy immediately while hot.