THE concept of brunch doesn't really seem to have caught on in Britain, with traditionalists favouring set meal times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most likely, it's because most people only have time for a quick bowl of cornflakes before dashing out of the house to avoid being late for work.

But on weekends, when the pace tends to be a bit slower, this breakfast-lunch hybrid seems yet to fully take off.

My first proper experience of brunch - and I don't mean a full English fry-up after one too many drinks the night before - came at Maison Blanc, which serves its breakfast/brunch menu from 9am until midday.

On a hot summer's day, my boyfriend Matthew and I sat outside in the cafe's garden, which was peaceful and provided some welcome shade.

I chose the smoked salmon platter which came with a generous serving of the fish, five slices of freshly baked bread, creme fraiche and lemon, which was absolutely delicious and makes my stomach rumble just thinking about it.

I also went for an organic fruit and yoghurt platter, served with various fruits, including orange, apple, strawberries, blueberries and melon.

Although a simple dish, the fruit platter was beautifully presented with a small jug for the yoghurt to be added to desire.

I was also pleased to see the fruit was very fresh.

My boyfriend picked the bacon club sandwich - a little more upmarket than the name might suggest - as it came with pancetta on lightly toasted brioche, baby spinach, Emmental cheese, sliced beef tomato and tomato chutney.

I managed to try just a bite before I found he had finished the whole sandwich - surely the marker of a good meal.

The cheese provided a delicious twist on the classic, and I would definitely order this if I made a return visit.

He also went for a dish called Le Petit Viennois which was a choice of hot drinks (he chose a cappuccino) with three mini pastries.

The pastries - a croissant, pain au chocolat and a raisin swirl - were of a good standard and not too sweet, as can sometimes be the case.

While many may think of Maison Blanc as a great place to go for cakes and pastries, the launch of the new brunch and light lunch menu has proved a successful extension to the chain's repertoire.

Prices were also reasonable, with dishes ranging from a ham and Emmental twist for £2.15, to £6.99 for Le Parisien, a half baguette with a choice of pastries, regular hot drink and fruit juice.

The hard part for me was when we left and had to walk past the mouth-watering selection of pastries in the display cabinets, but if I had a couple of hours to spare in future, I'd definitely go back for brunch at Maison Blanc.


303 Fulham Road, Chelsea,

London, SW10 9QH 020 7795 2663