I’ve got a bit of a girl crush on April Bloomfield. When she graced the front cover of her book, A Girl And Her Pig, with a smile on her face and pig carcass draped across her shoulders like a culinary Xena Warrior Princess, I thought ‘I want to be like her.’ She’s a home grown success story, born in Birmingham yet now wowing Manhattan with her rustic yet refined grub. Our meal at The Spotted Pig was one of my first ever blog posts (which is why it is rubbish) but I’m not quite done with her yet (WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY’RE ALL RUBBISH?!!)
The Breslin is another in April’s holy trinity of restaurants in New York City. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out that it is housed in Ace Hotel, the very place of slumber in which I had just booked our Autumnal stay! I decided it was destiny. I would meet April and present her with the collage I have been making of her throughout the years and she would embrace me and ask if I would like to meet (her mate) Jamie Oliver.
The Breslin, like The Spotted Pig, holds a Michelin star, however both restaurants are distinctly non-Micheliny. Service at The Breslin, however, is far friendlier than its counterpart – we instantly felt welcome and at ease. It’s no reservations, but on an early Sunday evening there was no problem being seated.
It’s a very cool space – barely lit (which will become apparent in my photos) decked out in deep mahogany and numerous quirky animal decorations.
Cocktails are unusual and strong – so much so that you start to get a little fuzzy half way down the first one. These are the best kind.
Not your grandpa’s whiskey sour
Old forester bourbon, pineapple-rosemary shrub, cardamaro, lemon
Lavender French 75
Gordon’s gin, lemon, herbs de provence, sparkling rosé
There’s a decent beer selection too.
Starters were bang on. Mr P’s scotch egg had a crisp coating and an oozy runny yolk; despite leaving England behind, April still knows how to treat our classics.
My chicken parfait was rich and creamy with wonderful orangey notes, served with toast which was so soaked in oil, it had surely been used to mop up a spillage. Please note: this is not a negative.
I loved the burger so much at The Spotted Pig that I knew I would be ordering The Breslin’s version. This was assembled with a lamb patty topped with feta.
QUICK! SOMEBODY ENTER ME INTO A FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION!
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. The lamb was cooked so rare that after a couple of minutes it had cooled down to the point of resembling raw mince, which did tickle my gag reflex somewhat. A real shame as the flavours were great, just cold. Thrice cooked chips however were a joy to eat, all of which I did whilst happily dunking them in a zingy, mildly spiced mayo.
What the burger should look like (courtesy of twitter friend @jensenbull)
Mr P’s special of buttermilk fried poussin more than made up for my cold burger - think KFC that has married into a wealthy family and its humble origins cast into the past, becoming a subject that nobody dare talk about. This tasted exactly like that. It came with a really punchy salad made up of little gem lettuce, red onion, Roquefort cheese and walnuts. So tasty that I am trying my best to recreate it at home.
Almond pound cake with raspberry sorbet, goats cheese and mint, was a lovely, not overly sweet end to our meal. The goats cheese an unusual yet welcomed addition to this well balanced dish.
You know what the best part of staying in a hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant is? Room service, for when you become so grossly inebriated that you are not to be trusted dining physically in a restaurant because you’re vomiting quite heavily.
The Breslin Burger – this one was beef and warm! Yay!
Charcutterie board with selection of pickles and chutneys.
We loved our meal and room service (of what we can remember through our drunken haze) so much, that we decided to give breakfast a try.
Again, Mr P ordered the better dish - oven baked 3 cheese sandwich with house smoked ham and a runny egg was exceptional. The perfect hangover cure (it was the morning after THAT night before).
My baked eggs with spiced tomato & chorizo was delicious, however I found the tomato a little overpowering and my toast overly crunchy.
To my delight, we shared The Breslin as our breakfast destination that morning with daughter of Bill, Chelsea Clinton. I feel a certain kinship with Chelsea as we have both been mortally embarrassed by our fathers. My Dad may not have had an affair that made the international news but he did once camouflage himself in a black outfit and walk around the streets of our neighborhood trying to catch me smoking*. I considered trying to hug her as I revealed my empathy, but didn’t want to be taken out by The Secret Service.
I don’t love The Breslin quite as much as The Spotted Pig, which just has a certain extra charm for me, but it’s more central (29th Street) and the food is bloomin’ delicious. Not the cheapest meal you can have in New York, but in my opinion, it’s well priced for what you get.
I unfortunately didn’t get to meet April. Do you think she was avoiding me?
*He did not catch me smoking. I was far too clever for him. **
**I do not smoke. You should not smoke. Smoking ruins taste buds. Food is better than smoking. Don’t smoke, eat food. But not too much food. Don’t be obese. Smoking curbs food cravings. Maybe we should smoke?***
***Do not smoke.