05 June 2019
What is Brunch?
In word terms, it’s the combination of breakfast and lunch—giving rise to the catchy word we’ve all come to know. After all, it could have been called “lunchfast”. It’s doubtful this would have taken off.
Some of us officially “do brunch”. Some of us don’t call it brunch, but we do it nonetheless, at home, as dictated by the diversity of our cupboards on a Sunday morning and the hour of groggy awakening.
Brunch: The Victorian Hangover Cure
That’s right, brunch was intended as the original metropolitan hangover cure. Humans and hangovers are ancient friends. Even before we evolved into bipedal creature of ponder, our primate ancestors were making merry on fermented fruit. So it seems ridiculous that it took until 1895 for someone to think up the best meal for the day after.
Eat standard breakfast, and you’ll regret it. Wait until lunch, and breakfast seems strange—but also you’ll feel woozy. Yet lunch can only follow breakfast?
Cue mealtime maverick Guy Beringer. In the late Victorian era he wrote an article (Brunch: A Plea) for the Hunter’s Weekly, advocating that a new meal to be adopted, which he called “brunch”.
At the time, the modus operandi of the Victorians, like us, was to occasionally have a few too many stiff beverages on a Saturday night. However, unlike the most of us, their Sunday mornings were spoken for by church.
Upon conclusion of their sermons, it was time for Sunday lunch. For those not regretting their previous night’s antics, this would have been a delight—heavy and rich, and requiring a snooze afterwards.
As much as we still love our Sunday roasts, hands up who’s had to miss out due to “feeling a little off”? We’ve all been there.
Berlinger (who it can be assumed was partial to a drink or two) was fed up with this. He proposed a lighter meal, to be enjoyed with friends, an informal social event. Brunch would put everyone in good spirits for the week to come.
Of course, this wasn’t solely about hangovers. It was about rebelling against the formality of an era.
Wait—why was brunch first featured in the Hunter’s Weekly? Well, it might have taken an unnamed form elsewhere, but Beringer’s idea came from hunt breakfasts, an English hunting tradition, with a spread of eggs, meats, fresh fruit, and sweets—a welcome sight after a morning’s hunt, and very sociable.
Fast Forward: The Popularity of Brunch
However popular brunch became after Beringer’s article, it cannot compare to the behemoth it has become now. Some joke it’s the meal of the millennial generation, and who really knows if they’re right. Whatever the case, brunch is not only wildly popular, but also considered intensely cool—since it’s steady rise to ultimate stardom from the mid 00s—according to Google search trends.
This is thought to have been fuelled by the TV series “Sex and the City” and the character’s love of Sunday brunch. Brunch took the mantle as a hip thing, and part of an affluent urban lifestyle.
Brunch has never really disappeared, and even had devoted cookery books in 60s, but its welded place on the hull of society today, is (perhaps), Beringer’s vision come to life. Brunch is now standard.
Why is Brunch so Popular?
Brunch is no longer simply a cure for alcohol maladies, but being able to have a bloody Mary or a cocktail during, makes it a socially acceptable way to have hair of the dog. This is one of a few reasons it’s so popular—
Another is its slightly nihilistic ambiguity.
Could be morning, could be afternoon. It could be Eggs Benedict; it could be (the classic) smashed avocado on sourdough toast. It could, for all anyone cares be a mix of the two. It could be waffles and fruit compote.
Its vagueness means it’s endlessly flexible, suiting many tastes and lifestyles.
Brunch is not a greasy fry up either, it’s the forte of people who stay up late, the thinkers, dreamers, creatives, artists, and those with a place to be. It’s edgy, and sometimes innovative. Brunch is what people want to be seen eating on Instagram and Facebook.
Brunch in Edinburgh: With a View
You could have super trendy brunch at the back of a bookshop café or maybe in an arts centre. Whilst this is fine, if you’re in Scotland’s capital you’ll be missing out sorely on the best view in town.
Brunch is quite literally elevated at The Tower, Scotland’s first and finest rooftop restaurant.
Here we offer a full brunch spread, each dish made with locally sourced, superb Scottish ingredients. Our specialty is eggs; French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, Eggs Royale, omelettes, scrambled eggs—you name it.
We also have proper Scottish porridge, natural yogurt with granola, pastries, toast and preserves…and smashed avocado.
Plus, we have a cultured selection of teas and some favourite brunch cocktails, such as mimosas, bellinis, and a couple of our own.
We may be a fine dining restaurant, but our brunch is reasonably priced. Except for the full Tower Breakfast everything is less than ten pounds.