Sunday, September 19, 2010

British Invasion Brunch a Go Go

Maybe it's just me, but when I saw Sprout was having a 60s British music themed brunch, I immediately started looking through my closet for the most mod-looking dress I could find. The winner was a fitted bright pink sheath with white daisies and purple centers. Groovy and ready to go to the British Invasion brunch.

The DJs spinning vinyl for brunch were Sara (of Cherry Bomb) and Greg, so you know the music was spot-on. I waved hello as I took a table and Greg, very dapper in a white dickie with a yellow deep-V polyester shirt over it, blew me a kiss back. Sara was adorable in a brown mini with white lace tights.

And then there was the vinyl playing. Carrie Anne, Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter, Groovy Kind of Love; oh, yes, the music consisted of vintage hits as well as slightly more obscure British finds. All around me people were bobbing their heads and smiling each time a new three-minute gem played.

I was delighted to discover that the menu had also undergone a British invasion with all kinds of rarely-seen English standards for brunch today. Beans on toast, toads-in-a-hole, bangers over mash with onion gravy and my personal choice, chuck roast and Yorkshire pudding. They had their usual brunch choices too, but how often do I have British brunch options made with Virginia ingredients?

The table I sat next to included a girl I'd met at a Marionette show, so I had some built in conversational partners. The first thing she said was, "Nice job on the 60s look." She'd scoured her closet and come up empty, settling for a 60s-style headband and a thick line of eyeliner that curled up at the outside of her eyes.

But my dress couldn't compare to owner Laurie's mod little number because hers with paired with go-go boots. She refused to take credit for them , though, saying that she only has them because she's in a go-go dance group who perform with local bands. Of course, that just made her cooler.

When my local chuck roast and Yorkshire pudding arrived, the trio at the next table sounded like an echo chamber. "Wow," one said. "Wow," said the next. "Wow," said the last.

And it was impressive looking, with two puddings and loads of meat and gravy over it. On the side of the plate was a row of sliced local beets topped with a row of sliced local hard-cooked eggs, adding a bright 60s visual pop to the plate.

Having grown up in a large family, I know the pleasures of long-cooked (and relatively inexpensive) chuck roast and the horseradish-infused gravy did it justice. The puddings were dense, but perfect for sopping up gravy.

It was an enormous portion and I ate most of it before offering bites to my neighbors. One of the girls noted after tasting it that the gravy "tastes like Arby's horsey sauce." Um, you mean it has horseradish in it, I teased. She had no idea what Arby's secret ingredient had been. A teachable moment.

I asked Laurie how many people had gotten the same dish I had and she said very few, probably because they had no idea what it was. "That's why you have to know, to get the best thing on the menu," she admitted. But she's also working on expanding her menu-description skills, the better to help those who don't know.

Paying my bill, I noticed my name on the check and owner Jamie acknowledged that they do know me by name now. "Well, I have been to almost every show here," I had to admit, not to mention more than a few meals. "Yea, we're going to have to put you to work doing sound," Jamie laughed. He's right; I can always stand to add a new skill set.

Just don't ask me to go-go dance.