To be quite honest, when I think of casinos, brunch (and food in general) is pretty far from my mind. Most of my casino experiences have occurred around 3am when it’s closing time at the bar and nowhere else is serving booze. (don’t judge me, you’ve totally been in that situation too). I’ve always been aware of The Hippodrome casino, in plain sight the second you step off the tube in Leicester Square – but I didn’t realise there was a restaurant inside, let alone one serving up brunch. Thankfully, Yelp were on hand to introduce me to Heliot and it’s brunch-y delights.
The event was actually for Yelp’s Deputy programme, and I am no deputy, but there were a few spare places available and who on earth turns down a free brunch, right? Although, I nearly didn’t even get in thanks to my pesky baby face and forgetting my ID. Cause y’know, casinos ID EVERYONE. Whoops. Thankfully, my baby face is also a pretty charming one and I managed to actually get in.
We were sat up on a mezzanine level in the Heliot Restaurant, overlooking the casino itself. The lighting was quite low (not the most blogger-friendly) and it had a pretty intimate feel – with a quite glam vibe, even before it had hit noon. I felt like I should have been wearing an evening dress, even though it wasn’t in the evening. That kinda vibe.
Drinks were up first – I shunned the Bloody Mary in favour of a bellini – because a) I didn’t have a hangover *smug* and b) I don’t much like tomato juice anyway. And c) Prosecco, duh. First up I had the cassis bellini, and for my second drink I had the passionfruit bellini – preferring the latter, as it was much frutier and actually pretty refreshing, considering the booze element.
We were brought over a selection of four dishes from the menu – two per person, but we shared amongst the four of us so everyone could get a little taste of everything – as well as some sides of bacon, sausage and hash browns.
I’m not the hugest of egg fans. I mean, I like eggs, but I’m pretty ambivalent towards them generally. BUT, when they’re cooked and served up well, I’m definitely prone towards egg-based enjoyment. And boy, was the Eggs Royale a cracking dish. (FYI, LOTS of egg puns happened. Sorry not sorry). Slicing it in half to share between two, the yolk oozed out beautifully. The smoked salmon was really tasty, and there was just the right amount of spinach. More where that came from, please.
Next up was the Chilli Fried Egg and Bacon Brioche roll – a slightly hotter take on the classic bacon and egg butty. The bacon was fantastically cooked and the chilli added a great extra kick. The brioche bun felt very slightly overdone but otherwise I really enjoyed the dish. The perfect hangover cure, I’ll be looking to recreate this one at home on a Sunday morning.
One of the plates I was most intrigued by was the Country Fried Steak with sausage gravy, egg and fries. Heliot is known for it’s great steak, and the country fried version is coated in breadcrumbs. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the steak to Heliot’s usual fare, as it has a different taste and is more of an escalope than a traditional steak. I really enjoyed it, especially with the sausage gravy – which was also great for dipping the crispy chips into.
I didn’t actually manage to try the Jack Stack (pancake, waffle and French toast with maple syrup) in the end as I was VERY STUFFED, but according to the rest of my table it impressed – even though the maple syrup was apparently slightly thicker than expected. And then, just to make my food baby even bigger, Lissa appeared at my table with the Croque Madame to try. And I just can’t turn down parma ham and cheese. I wolfed down what was basically a delicious fancy toastie, then dragged myself home to have a lie down from the excessive amounts of brunch that had made its way into my belly.
With a simple pricing structure that has most dishes coming in at £7 each, Heliot’s brunch isn’t too pricey and the food quality is excellent. The casino atmosphere gave it a more unusual brunch feel to the usual hotspots and I’d definitely go back.
*I attended the event through Yelp (find me here!) and we were kindly given complimentary food and drinks. But I wasn’t specifically asked to write a blog post, I just wanted to share my epic brunch with y’all!