One of the things we were told we must do in New York was to have brunch. On the recommendation of my brother-in-law, we booked a table at Beauty and Essex to meet up with some of my sister Yuki's university friends who now live in New York. They last saw each other five years ago and I hadn't seen them in 15, so amidst all the catching up and general yakking away, we tucked into some rather lovely dishes.
But first things first. We were warned that Beauty and Essex had some unusual decor and looked like a night club but after a very late night drinking, we walked up and down Essex Street unable to find the place. We asked a helpful New Yorker who pointed us to what looked like a vintage shop.
When you walk through the little doorway, you are greeted by what can only be described as a gorgeous reception room with a beautiful staircase.
With white. furry. walls. Oooh, don't you just want to stroke it?
That led up to a sumptuous lounge.
We didn't eat there but were led into a dark and plush back room lit by a lovely skylight.
We all oohed and aahed over our beautiful surroundings. There were gaggles of Sex and the City-like women, families, couples and lots of friends catching up.
We ordered a selection of dishes to share. We were recommended the vanilla beignets by a friend so said we had to get them.
Small, fluffy and dusted with sugar and one each wasn't enough. These were quickly followed by soft and bouncy lemon blackberry pancakes with sweet ricotta. We saw lots of people ordering these.
Grilled cheese, smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings. The tomato soup was saucy and packed full of flavour. This was probably my favourite mouthful. Shame it was only a mouthful as I could have eaten a whole bowl of this.
New York pretzel with shaved NY strip, mustard aioli and crispy shallots.
I was expecting a pretzel in the Bavarian style (big and loopy) but this was a dainty but tasty morsel.
Lobster tacos made with beer battered Maine lobster, red cabbage slaw and jalapeño crema. Nice and pricey but wasn't that fancy.
Fried chicken biscuit bites with tabasco honey butter and red cabbage slaw.
I've never had chicken and biscuits together before so wanted to try this. Very tasty but I wouldn't have minded having a whole biscuit to myself.
Braised short rib huevos rancheros with sunny side up eggs, black beans and cotija.
I love huevos rancheros, something which we sadly can't get easily in London, and this was a fancy verson that was the spiciest of our choices. I shoveled this down fast.
Even though we shared everything between the six of us, we were pretty stuffed by this point. But we all have a separate stomach for dessert, right? So we ordered one portion of molten chocolate bread pudding with hazlenut ice cream which was HUGE. And delicious. We finished it pretty quickly considering how we kept protesting how full we were.
Although almost everyone around us was drinking cocktails and champers, we were a little fragile and jet-lagged and opted for teas, coffees and juices. However, the cocktail list looked interesting and I'd definitely try one next time. The price was pretty reasonable for such a fancy joint working out at about $30 each including tip and we were really full.
By the time we left the place at around 2:30pm, the place was heaving with a huge queue. One bonus was that if you went to the ladies, you were offered a glass of free bubbly. A good way to keep customers waiting happy.
BEAUTY AND ESSEX
146 Essex Street