It’s mid-week at last, and – if you’re anything like me – you’ll already be planning your weekend. Should you happen to be stuck for ideas, however, I may have just the thing…
Done that before, you say? Not very original? Well how about a Brunch made by Niko B? A Chocolate Brunch, to be precise.
That ought to pique your interest…
The Man and I first encountered Niko B at last year’s Southbank Chocolate Festival, where I fell in love with their Masala Chai truffles. They were selling their wares again this year, only this time my attention was caught by a leaflet. ‘CHOCOLATE LAB,’ it said. ‘Sunday Service – Brunch… American pancakes with a chocolate twist. Classic, pumpkin and corn hot cakes served with a choice of chocolate sauce, caramel, maple, compotes, savoury cocoa black beans, bacon, halloumi and eggs.’
I ask you, Ogglers: how could I not be intrigued? For the rest of the day, I bounced around the Southbank, planning a good time to visit. As you’ve probably guessed by now, that time turned out to be last Sunday.
Lordy, lordy. I’d been hyper enough at the sight of the leaflet, but on Sunday I was practically flying, hurrying the Man along the pavement, insisting we got there quickly, in case all the pancakes ran out. Somehow we arrived without him strangling me. I took a seat, pretending to be calm, and quietly foamed at the mouth.
Before we go any further, I’ll come clean: I am – and always will be – a die-hard fan of halloumi. The same goes for chocolate, obviously. However, until last Sunday, I had never had the two combined. And the thought of it was Blowing. My. MIND.
I ordered without hesitation (having mooned over their website for weeks in advance): ‘three pumpkin pancakes topped with chocolate shavings and honey, cinnamon, and chocolate butter. Served with grilled halloumi.’ Schwing!
Before that came, however, I had the joy of trying their House Hot Chocolate – and may I say it’s a definite contender for the excellent hot choc list. It was lovely. Made with melted 70% chocolate, cream and milk, it was thick, rich, and practically a pudding in itself.
Still, that’s not all I’d like to shout about at this point. How about homemade fig syrup?! You heard me! You see, not only does Niko create delicious chocolates and desserts, but he also makes all his own syrups and ice cream. Holy figging moly. Now there’s a good person to have in the kitchen…
Anyhoo, I was only just getting over the joys of my drink (which was free by the way – they’re doing a promo all month), when the main event arrived: glorious pumpkin pancakes, served with a jug full of warm chocolate syrup.
I. Was. ECSTATIC.
Let’s be honest, folks: when a meal makes you giggle with every mouthful, you know you’re on to a winner. I was hooked. The pumpkin pancakes were soft and thick, the chocolate sauce dark and syrupy sweet. As for the halloumi: it entered the mix like a dream, that lovely mellow saltiness cutting beautifully through all the sugar. BLISS. My only minor gripe was that I really fancied an extra slice of the stuff (though I suppose I might’ve exploded).
Still, the good times weren’t confined to my plate alone. The Man’s dish – corn cakes with savoury cocoa black beans – was super scrumptious too. As was the pudding he so gamely ordered: a pumpkin pancake with vanilla bean ice cream and raspberry caramel sauce (both homemade, of course – and very nice to mop up with a finger).
As for me, full to the brim with hot chocolate as I was, I couldn’t really manage a second course – and for that I hang my head in shame. Luckily, however, another perk of the Chocolate Lab is you can take most of their tasty treats home. Alas, their jasmine marshmallow was out of the question (gelatine filled, gosh darn it). But the dark chocolate-covered pumpkin brownie bite? Mine, mine, mine.
So, before I sign out for today, what have we learnt from this blog post, Ogglers?
I’ll give you a couple of clues:
- You should go to the Chocolate Lab.
- If you can’t, then buy some halloumi, make chocolate sauce, and mix those bad boys together.
Here endeth the lesson.