With UK hospitality set to finally return to a state of normality on 19th July, diners up and down the country can look forward to enjoying a wave of new and exciting restaurant openings over the coming months without the COVID restrictions that have become so terribly the norm when eating out.
Among the many upcoming openings I’ve got my eye on is Sunday in Brooklyn, which is launching as the London outpost of the hugely popular New York eatery on 22nd July in Notting Hill.
Serving up modern US-style brunch and dinner from a two-floored space on Westbourne Grove, the menus are chock-full of interesting, on-trend options.
I’m talking dishes such as herbal bone broth with white miso, shakshuka with house focaccia, crispy chicken sandwiches with potato buns, ‘Sunday Fries’ with za’atar chilli flakes and spicy mayo, and biscuits & gravy (drop cheddar biscuits, white sausage gravy, poached eggs and spicy sambal).
Their most famous dish, however, is pancakes – Sunday Pancakes, drenched in hazelnut maple praline and a brave slice of brown butter.
It’s long been an Instagram star in its native New York, not to mention TikTok, with the indulgent brunch item sure to be a headliner for the restaurant when it swings open its doors later this month.
But what does Tastewise’s AI-based data, which is sourced from billions of data points across social media, restaurant menus and online recipes, say about such a dish in terms of UK consumer eating motivations?
According to Tastewise, when it comes to pancakes on UK restaurant menus, there has been a small but gradual increase in appearances over the past year, from 14.9% in May 2020 to 17.4% in May 2021.
And, in terms of UK social media discussions, pancakes appear in 1.20% of food and drink posts, with a predictable spike between January and March coinciding with Pancake Day.
‘Sweet’ is by far and away the top consumer motivation for pancakes in the UK, with a vegan recipe for lemon poppy seed pancakes by Wallflower Kitchen currently the most popular home cooking option on Pinterest.
Sunday in Brooklyn make their own hazelnut maple praline (the American kind, rather than the French or Belgian) which, according to Delish’s Sarah Weinberg sees the “chefs blend roasted hazelnuts into a chunky nut butter, then mix it with maple syrup”, creating a thick but intimately pourable sauce for the fluffy pancakes.
‘Fluffy’, incidentally, just edges out ‘crispy’ as the top UK consumer texture motivator for pancakes in the Tastewise data.
While hazelnuts are a “well-penetrated and stable” ingredient in the UK according to Tastewise, it is enjoying a 5.4% average monthly increase in menu mentions (as seen above), with ‘dessert’ only just topping ‘breakfast’ in terms of UK mealtime motivations.
So, what about brunch?
Clearly a popular (and trending) UK mealtime, mentions of ‘brunch’ on both social media and restaurant menus are still gently on the rise according to Tastewise data, with two of the top five trending home-cooked brunch recipes pancake dishes.
And the brand with the most recipe pins on Pinterest when it comes to brunch? Nutella with 618,893 pins, with the hazelnut-based spread a long-time favourite on (among millions of other things) pancakes.
Are we, with Sunday in Brooklyn’s hazelnut maple praline with brown butter, looking at an utterly decadent riff on the established UK favourite?
All signs point to a major, Insta-worthy, brunch hit for those lucky Notting Hill locals (and beyond).