Nestled underneath the stagnant new development of Fiztroy Place, where a three-bed flat will burn a 4.5 million pound hole in your pocket, Percy and Founders is a place of refuge and decency in a world that none of us will ever live in.
I was there for Sunday brunch, and to see just how much unlimited Prosecco one can get through in the early afternoon. All this before going to the hustle and bustle of an afternoon of shopping, and the ensuing desperate search for a loo after managing to polish off a couple of bottles.
We were sat next to a huge window which opened onto the stunning interior of the Middlesex Hospital Chapel which dates back to the 1920’s. While the developers were probably not keen on having to keep this monument to a time that would make them no profit, the staff at Percy and Founders seem proud of their roots. Our waitress waxed lyrical about the joys of working in such a beautiful venue.
You got the feeling, as soon as you walked through the door, that the staff were enjoying their time at Percy and Founders and that made us feel comfortable and reassured that we’d receive food created with a real wish for us to enjoy it.
Our Prosecco was poured, and we were off. I ordered a fontina waffle with chicken, poached egg, maple syrup and bacon, and my brunch buddy ordered the omelette of the day – which confusing said tomato and avocado, but turned out to be a range of vegetables with tomato and avocado on the side. We also ordered a few sides, namely charred greens, steamed vegetables and chips.
My waffle was sublime, with cheese melted into it and a tower of chicken and bacon balancing on top, and a sweet looking poached egg sat next to it looking like it was wondering how it got there. You can’t go wrong with waffles, chicken, bacon and the rest – but to me the sign of whether somewhere is worth its while is if they can do the basics, while adding their own twist.
My brunch buddy said that her omelette was extremely nice, but I’m still not mature enough in my egg journey to try an omelette that isn’t suitable fried and filled with potato and in small tapas slices. The charred greens were a brilliant side for both our dishes, their smokey flavours complimenting my sweet maple soaked plate and the seasonal vegetables gave me something to mop up the few bits of syrup that remained on my plate when I’d finished.
The people around us ranged from families (with children subdued with iPads and ignored), to friends gathering to celebrate upcoming nuptials, and it was all rather lovely.
The walls are covered with enough interesting and original art that you need to give yourself a good five minutes to walk back from the immaculate bathroom. I found Percy and Founders to be a real slice of decadence saving the soul of the world around it. The unlimited Prosecco (for two hours) is an extra £16 per person in addition to your brunch. If you’re not a big afternoon drinker then you might prefer one of their vegetable or fruit juices, but for me it was just fine.
The whole experience, especially sat in front of the chapel, made for a genuine and lovely brunch experience and something I’d recommend as a treat to those on a smaller budget, but if you can afford it and are so inclined as to ‘do brunch’ then this could very well be your monthly shelter from the storm before you walk 200 yards to Oxford Street.
Dominic Stevenson (@dom_stevenson)