Brunch Here: Motley, WhitechapelBy Jamie Blackburn
Looking to consume with a conscience without having to sacrifice service, surroundings or flavours? Then look no further..
Tucked just behind the hustle and bustle of London’s famous Whitechapel Road lies a real hidden gem. As soon as you enter the Qbic Hotel, dubbed the the greenest in London, it feels like you’ve been teleported right into the heart of hipster Shoreditch, as opposed to actually being the backstreets of Whitchapel’s melting pot of wheelers and dealers.
Motley, the restaurant within the Qbic hotel, also proudly showcases how sustainable living can exist in the world of hospitality, whilst still maintaining a cool, intimate and tasteful feel to both its surroundings and its menu.
Sustainability sits at the heart of everything Motley stands for, with ‘low food miles’ and a ‘heavy on the veggie’ forward thinking menu, most of which is locally sourced from the surrounding markets of Borough and Broadway – it ticks so many of the boxes that really should be standard in today’s modern world.
Motley: The Lowdown
The 130-seat restaurant bar and lounge, designed by Finch Interiors, is full of quirky, upcycled art work (including an actual bicycle), and provides a unique, homely and welcoming place to brunch in, which you’ll be pleased to hear will also bring you the comfort food you’d no doubt been dreaming about all since that last drink of the previous Friday/Saturday night.
We’ve always maintained that you can tell a lot about a brunch by the strength of its Bloody Marys, a drink we are well versed in testing (purely to provide you all with the experienced reviews that you all deserve of course), and I’m pleased to report that the Motley was off to a flyer. It’s no surprise really, as the drinks menu has been overseen by Dan Berger (of Iceberg Consultancy and former Head of Bars’ at The Ned hotel) and the ‘Motely Mary’ well and truly sets the tone of a number of classics delivered well and with a few added extras (such as shallots, honey, olive and chilli in the Motley Mary, for example). Being able to choose our spice level was also a big win that brought both smiles to our faces and a glow to our cheeks.
Motley: The Food
The food that followed genuinely felt like a nice warm hug on a cold December morning and pleased our bellies as much as our consciences. We started with a combination of some real personal favourites of ours that really fired up the tastebuds. The first was a buttermilk fried chicken, on a slightly sweeter than average waffle, topped with a drizzle of hot sauce and a side of the fiery chorizo chutney, which was shortly followed by a beautiful combination of slow cooked pulled pork on a lightly toasted muffin and a poached egg crown which was also accompanied by the sweet and tangy chorizo chutney. These comfort dishes were all cooked to perfection and were both created, in some part, from ingredients that would’ve otherwise been discarded, and would’ve fallen into the worrying statistic that food waste in the UK restaurant sector sits at around £682 million each year and which can also help us start to understand the environmental impact that sits alongside that worrying number.
Feeling the foundation of food was now firmly laid, we knew that we couldn’t come here without also trying the signature dishes of both the Big Pan (1/2 a dozen free range eggs baked with forest mushrooms, plum tomatoes, beluga lentils in a fiery rich sauce, topped with guacamole and coriander and served with grilled sourdough), which is the clearly the perfect sharing platter, and the infamous breakfast frittata (made of sweet potato, spinach and barrel aged feta) which was expertly put together and a winner for any vegetarians amongst us. Both dishes delivered on the all the previous hype we’d heard, and have obviously become their best-known dishes for a reason.
With the attentive staff making sure we were regularly topped up with the variety of options/mixes at the bottomless Mimosa bar, which we ‘sipped’ on whilst being serenaded by the live music performer, we felt we had just about the right ambiance and amount of room in our stomachs for a little desert sharer, which our extremely knowledgeable host had advised us to leave some room for.
We certainly weren’t expecting the next dish to deliver on so many levels but hand on heart, the bread and butter pudding croissant, with vanilla custard (that mum would’ve been proud of) was a real show stopper. Needless to say the plate was licked clean and the sound of ‘please sir, can I have some more’ shortly followed.
I think a lot of restaurants and hotels could learn a lot for the guys at Qbic and Motley, both in regards to making sure their customers taste buds and environmental futures are well looked after. The brunch was a real success and provided both a tasteful, enjoyable menu alongside real value for money. Here’s to many more hotels and restaurants hopefully following their lead.
For more information, see here.
42 Adler St, Whitechapel, London E1 1EE