You can’t beat a good girls brunch. Bottomless booze, good food and your best babes – what’s not to love? My friends and I decided it was high time we all got together and get a summer brunch date in the diary, and decided to head to the brand new London City Beach. It promised a Mediterranean feast, bottomless booze with a choice of Prosecco, beer, pornstar martinis and mojitos, all in an idyllic setting on the Southbank with “pop up food stalls, craft beer, music, festival feel, VIP beach huts, garden and beach bars and of course sand”. Ohhh yeah! What could go wrong?!
We were booked to have our table at 12pm, but found ourselves still in a queue outside the venue until 12:45. Luckily we were assured this wouldn’t eat in to our precious drinking time! Good, good!
A slightly frazzled lady welcomed us in and told us to grab our drinking vessel of choice from a table sporting brightly coloured paper tumblers and champagne flutes. “Just take one though and hold on to it – we’re definitely going to run out of cups!“. Reassuring… The guy in charge of cups however told us to just take what we wanted – a champagne flute for Prosecco and paper cup for cocktails would be fine, and you can mix and match your drinks inside no problem. Alrighty roo!
Unfortunately our table wasn’t actually ready and one of the hosts hastily gathered three high tables and enough stools and pushed them together at the far end of the “beach”. “Food will be out in 10” he said as he disappeared off, presumably to put more tables together, and we didn’t see him again (or our food) for at least another 45 minutes.
We took in our surroundings and headed to the bar to get some Prosecco – girls brunch was a go!
It was a pretty cute setting – though not really a beach by any standard. One of the girls drescibed it as “an adult sandbox”, but to be fair it is central London so I think they did a good job (and am not sure how else they would have done it!)
The beach area had deck chairs and giant inflatables to sit on, and was lined with the VIP Beach Huts. These looked really pretty – all painted in different pastel shades and named after tropical islands. However after a particularly vigorous gust of wind – love a London summer – the back wall of Necker Island completely fell in on its inhabitants! Very glad we didn’t splash out £85 each for beach hut tickets!
There was a big astroturfed section with picnic benches and beyond that, an indoor area with table football, ping pong, a giant inflatable elephant and all the Instagram cliche walls you can think of (which we obviously took advantage of!)
There wasn’t however any pop up food stands and the event wasn’t actually on the Southbank but a few streets back, so no pretty views of the Thames while you’re partying.
The staff, although all super friendly, didn’t really have a clue about what drinks were available, some of the advertised cocktails weren’t actually on offer and the replacement drink seemed to change every time you went to the bar. We never did get the mojitos we were looking forward to!
Our food finally arrived and this is what led to our -mostly-tongue in cheek – Fyre Fest analogies – though thankfully there were no cheese sandwiches! We were expecting a Mediterranean feast of Black Forest ham, chorizo picante, Milano salami, Kalamata olives, Mediterranean couscous with pomegranate, butterfly king prawns, smoked salmon, crispy tortillas, stuffed baby bell peppers, hummus and guacamole dips, vegetarian samosa, fried halloumi with sesame seeds and mozzarella with balsamic vinegar. And while we did get these things, they were served in plastic containers as if fresh from Asda. The chorizo and salami was presented in awkward chunks rather than sliced, and there was literally one bite per person. It all tasted fine, but it was definitely not a substantial amount of food you’d expect from “brunch” (and especially when most bottomless brunches you get for £35 include an actual meal).
We had a good time chatting, catching up and enjoying the music which was the perfect mix of summery pop, club anthems and old school RnB. Definitely can’t fault the music at London City Beach!
Bottomless drinks stopped at 3pm, though this wasn’t clear until you went to the bar and tried to get a top up – no classic last minute dash for a fresh glass for us! This was when we decided to leave and head to a bar where we could get a decent drink and some proper food – we were STARVING!
I usually leave a bottomless lunch feeling pretty satisfied that I’ve had my money’s worth of food and booze, but I definitely did not consume £35 worth at London City Beach. I’m so glad we decided against paying £85 for the VIP tickets as there’s no way it is worth it in my opinion – save your cash and head to a high end restaurant instead!
The event is a great idea in theory , but it was pretty amateurly executed. We did go in the first couple of weeks of it being open, so it could have been opening teething issues, but I’m definitely not going back to see if it’s any better now!
Overall I’d say it’s fine if you’re looking for a gimmicky day out, but if you’re looking for a quality brunch and value for money it’s definitely one to miss.
Have you been to London City Beach? How did you find it? I’d love to know your fave London brunch spots below.
I live in Brixton in London. I eat out far too much, am always planning my next trip and have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter.