The Bruncheon Club, Hackney
A Secret Location
Sittings occur once a month
by Malcolm Eggs
All around the garden, people watched with baited breath. I flung the boule in my trademark style, which I'm sure at least one person would have silently christened ‘the stoat’. It was seven points all. The dense little sphere arced into the air, landed about a metre away from the jack then rolled downslope into a patch of weeds.
We were at the first ever Bruncheon Club, a socio-culinary venture dreamt up by two friends, Gregg and Maya. It’s a hangover-soothing addition to London's new wave of what they’re calling ‘underground restaurants’. These shadowy eateries are a cross between dinner parties and those underground raves in the 80s and 90s, where you’d call a secret number to get the address of a freshly infiltrated warehouse off a slip road somewhere. Twenty years on, I’m sure it must be many of the same people who now go to a private house or flat, eat a home-cooked set menu then pay a suggested donation at the end.
The boules came after three courses served at a garden table, washed down by oft-replenished coffee and water and seasoned with congenial conversation and heaps of newspaper supplements. The atmosphere was that of going to a friend’s house for an 'event breakfast' such as on the morning after a mild win on the premium bonds. Our suggested £12 donation got us bloody maries, fresh strawberries and warm croissants, but the magnum opus was an eggs royale in which duck eggs took all the egg roles. It was one of the eggiest things I have ever seen: impossible amounts of the boldest possible yellowy-orangey yolk gushing out across the smoked salmon, then mingling gloriously with duck-egg-hollandaise, then quickly entering my mouth. The poor muffin halves came nowhere near being able to mop everything up.
After my disappointing throw of the boule my team, hurriedly and a little cringingly titled 'De Beauvoir Rovers', was engaged in a tribute to British sporting patterns: the strong start followed by the pointless unforced errors, the nailbiting war of attrition, the whittling, entropy-like journey towards failure. But, actually, there’s nothing like mutual defeat to help you bond with a group of complete strangers - so my one suggestion to the Bruncheon Club is this: keep the leisure sports, but move them to the start of proceedings. Or indeed replace the leisure sports with hard techno, the food with uppers and hold the whole thing at night in an old business park near Bracknell.