Recently, I met up with my lovely blogger babes for a marathon brunch/catch-up session at the even lovelier Nellcôte. This was the first time the five of us had actually been able to get together as a full group (as one of us now lives in an entirely different country!), so we were filled to the brim with stories and jonesing to share a really fabulous meal. Open since 2012, Nellcôte is one of those semi-hidden gems in the West Loop. While everyone is familiar with the restaurant as a perfect spot for dinner and drinks, it seems to be a bit less on the radar for brunch. I'm almost reluctant to rave about it too much, as I don't want it should be taken over by masses of brunch-happy Chicagoans. ;-)
(photo courtesy of Nellcôte)
Nellcôte draws both its moniker and its influence from Villa Nellcôte, the French mansion once and inhabited by the Rolling Stones. The Euro-chic space drips with crystal chandeliers and is outfitted with a Parisian herringbone wood floor, Art Nouveau wrought-iron gates, Gran Dossier Tolix bar chains in Hermès orange, and a white Italian marble staircase. While the restaurant is most definitely sexy and opulent, it's also comfortable, approachable, and filled with whimsical touches (including these gorgeous chairs I would love to smuggle over to my place!).
(interior details photos courtesy of Ashley)
Having previously brunched at Nellcôte with Chicago Food Bloggers, I was excited to share the gorgeous space and delicious food with my blogger crew. Ever since I posted photos of their amazing Lobster Hash (that dish is actually on my list of top brunch picks in the city!) and Sunnyside Up Pizza on Instagram, the girls have been dying to check it out. The restaurant specializes in European-inspired small plates made with Midwestern ingredients - they even mill their own flour for their breads, pizzas, and pasta. Along with the delectable food, they also offer several fun opportunities for those of us who love our social media: Tweet N' Eat, in which a tweet can earn you a delicious surprise, and Insta-Glass, in which a photo on Instagram can earn you a free glass of wine.
Katharine and her awesome new dachshund cutting board (in honor of her perfectly adorable little Payton).
Every good girls brunch starts with glasses of bubbly!
Share Plate: charcuterie, Pleasant Ridge reserve cheese, tea-poached plums & brioche. The brioche & butter are both freshly made in-house and they are divine! I've never felt so enthusiastic about butter before; in fact, it was so good that we may have debated eating the leftover butter on its own (and one of us, who shall remain nameless, may have actually stuck her finger in the butter for a final little bite). ;-)
The always fabulous Ashely of Sed Bona (aka the best food/drink model around!).
Lady Jane Cocktail: Stoli 1 Rasberry, Dewar’s Honey, Rare Tea Cellar's earl grey tea (as Ashley said, it was the most deliciously booziest sweet tea she's ever slurped).
an awesome prize pack on Instagram during Chicago Restaurant Week) Really, can you ask for a better combination?!
Prosecco and doughnuts FTW!
Lobster Hash with poached hen eggs, kennebec potatoes & smoked paprika hollandaise. This dish was the driving force behind our brunch visit and I'm happy to say that it was just as fabulous as I had remembered! The lobster was tender & buttery and the paprika added just the right amount of smokiness. Needless to say, we all cleared our plates (and may have even contemplated licking the last tiny drops of hollandaise left on the plate). It really was that good.
Bagel and Lox Plate: salmon, tomato, onion, caper berries, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, and lemon-dill cream cheese.
Of course, we couldn't leave without sampling dessert! Katharine choose the Budino with butterscotch, banana & pecans.
The rest of us went with the House Spun Seasonal Gelato. Really, we couldn't have asked for a better ending to our meal, as the desserts were just as amazing as the rest of it. I especially loved the salted almond gelato - it was unique and seriously addictive!
You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Nellcôte, 833 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL.