Not one to miss a good deal, after spotting, Passo, in the east end of London was doing a weekend of free mimosas, the girlfriend and I jumped at the chance. We booked in a table for 3pm, so that we didn’t start too early on the mimosas. Then the two of us headed out through the mid-March snowstorm over to Old Street station.
When we arrived it seemed the snow had stopped people from venturing out, as the stylish restaurant wasn’t the busiest. The spacious design has been done to accommodate walk-ins and Passo prides itself on always finding you a seat, unlike most London restaurants. Although there were several tables taken, the size of the venue, spaciously spread out, has the danger of always looking quiet.
After spending time in Dubai, the home of bottomless brunches, I am well aware that attending a brunch while it is quiet is the secret to a good brunch. The fewer people there are, the more attention (and alcohol) you receive. So when I saw it a little quieter, I had no complaints.
While looking through the menu, we had our first mimosa brought to us. We had expected to be reading the brunch menu, the photos of shakshuka, had been what sold us on Passo. Though leaving our booking until 3pm and thinking the venue was quiet all day due to the snow, was a mistake. As the brunch menu had been forced to change to the à la carte menu, after selling out the brunch menu.
Not ones to be phased by this, we ordered the Passo bread and another mimosa, you know, to drown the sorrows of no shakshuka. After this, we were ready to order, with some assistance from the extremely helpful and attentive Passo staff. Explaining that the “Vegetables”, like the “Small Plates”, were served as a starter we went with burrata and the BBQ cauliflower, with a mimosa.
Cauliflower is not the first thing I would have thrown on a BBQ, but Passo has changed my opinion. The burrata with zucchini chips was the perfect balance of salty crunch with the creamy cheese, but the cauliflower was the winner. Perhaps just the shock of what can be done with cauliflower is what made it such a winner. I ordered another mimosa just to recover from the shock of how good it was.
For mains, we went for the Roasted Cod and Chargrilled Chicken, when it arrived the waitress apologised as it had been served with sweet potato fries instead of regular chips. Though what I explained to the very helpful waitress, is, you never need to apologise when you bring me sweet potato fries. Never, ever.
The chicken was good, but I did have slight food envy after tasting the Roasted Cod, which literally melted in your mouth, which only fish cooked to perfection can do. It was OK though, I had another mimosa and the spinach with the chicken was a buttery, garlic, dream.
Now on our fifth mimosa, we were very happy that we had stumbled across this Passo, mimosa weekend while searching through Instagram. Every course had been beyond expectations, the service was great, it was spacious and modern inside, with the wood and copper infused interior. All that was left was desserts and trust me, they didn’t even come close to disappointing.
The Panettone French Toast was like a fluffy Italian inspired bread and butter pudding, topped with a little (probably not enough) pistachio ice cream. Alongside this was the Poached Chocolate Cake, which makes you wonder, why not all cake is poached if it makes it taste this good? Of course, these were accompanied by a sixth and seventh mimosa to finish off our Passo brunch.
Passo is part of the GoodLife Project that has a number of restaurants to its name. One of those is the very popular Rum Kitchen, which is what I would like to call “Nando’s for grown-ups”. So it is clear that they have the experience and knowledge to create a good dining experience and they haven’t failed with Passo. We came for mimosas, but it was the food and service that made us stay.