I recently found myself having to defend my anti-brunch position to an Englishman who disagreed with me vehemently in spite of the fact that we were sitting yards from a mound of material evidence that amply supported my case (a dilapidated, lukewarm hotel buffet).
Said Englishman also likes to rouse this American by taking credit on behalf of his country for having “invented” the United States of America. I know.
It turns out that the Brits did invent brunch, or at least the word, and now two former Rose Bakery cooks are working on perfecting it at Le Bal. A mere week later, I was forced to reconsider my hardline stance.
They serve scones, yes, and other British specialties: kippers, kedgeree, pancakes, porridge and Welsh rarebit. They also serve one of the best cappuccinos I’ve had outside of Italy. Coffee lovers take note.
“Real bacon,” sighed my friend Phyllis, cutting into a curly slice. I pierced the shimmering yolks of my eggs, cut into a roasted tomato, and mopped up the mess with toast. If only all brunches were this good.
Alas, the idyll came to an end when what seemed to be a busload of people arrived and were practically breathing on our cheese cake. It was reminder of one of the main reasons I avoid brunch: the crowds. Either get to Le Bal early or risk having your foot rolled over by a stroller.
Or pram, if you prefer.
Le Bal Café 6 impasse de la Défense, Paris 75018, +33 (0)1 44 70 75 51. Weds-Sat 10 am – 11 pm, Sun 10 am – 7 pm.