The sun’s out, the weekend is around the corner … it must be time for a brunch party. For while brunch was once about eggs benedict and builder’s tea, in 2014 the midday meal – devised by British journalist, Guy Beringer back at the start of the 20th century – revolves around champagne, haute cuisine, DJs and dancing atop tables and chairs.
Today there’s a number of brunch soirees to choose from – Love Brunch and Broadway Brunch have recently joined the battle of the brunches – but if you’re looking to burn the midnight oil in the middle of the day, there’s only one name that discerning Londoners need to know: Bacanal.
Bacanal – the brainchild of former financial institutions banker Diego Lijtmaer – pioneered the boozy brunch scene back in 2010. For the past four years, Diego’s decadent parties have taken place in some of London’s best venues – take a bow The Box, Nozomi and Kensington Roof Gardens. New for summer 2014 is La Plage by Bacanal: London’s first Moet & Chandon sponsored island style pop up residency day club, that takes place on the rooftop of theMillennium Gloucester Hotel.
But while the locale and decor – expect to be partying among palm trees and sun beds designed to transport Bacanal’s glossy clientele from the city to Cannes or Ibiza in a matter of minutes – may have changed, the format remains the same. Bacanal are still serving up their signature Saturday fun (dining, drinking and dancing) as Haute Time can attest.
We attended a recent La Plage party where the ambience was intoxicating. Everyone looked sensational – like they belonged in a glossy magazine. And everyone was having a blast.
Why, Haute Time asked one west London socialite in huge sunglasses, do Londoners love La Plage so? “Because you get to eat – the food here is incredible – drink and be entertained [think top London DJs, electric orchestras and Brazilian samba bands] in gorgeous surroundings – and all before 8pm,” she replied. “I don’t want to wait until the evening to party.” Plus, as her companion – clad in some preposterous 3/4 length rainbow coloured trousers teamed with loafers – put it: “ Who doesn’t love brunch ?” Well quite.
By now it’s 4pm, the champagne is flowing and I’m deep into a raging hangover. The only sensible thing to do? Drink some more champagne – which isn’t difficult when you’re presented with a bottle of Moet Ice Imperial (specifically developed by Chef de Cave, Benoît Gouez, to be served on ice during the hot summer months) – and nibble on strawberries.
Refuelled I move on and bump into a group I know only vaguely but at La Plage – buoyed by booze and the infectious attitude – they’re full of bonhomie. “Bacanal are perfectionists,” smiles Jo Simms. “I’ve been to rival brunch parties but they never flow as smoothly as La Plage and the surroundings are rarely as stunning.”
The setting – a large, open air sun roof in well heeled Chelsea – is certainly peerless but the security guards wouldn’t be out of place in North Korea. Case in point? I couldn’t (and not for want of looking) find a bin to throw away my empty bottle of water, so left it on a side table near the ladies toilets – only to almost be thrown off the premises.
I go to the bar to get more champagne, turn around with my drinks and bump into the dapperDiego and ask: “What is the future for La Plage?”
“In London, clubs come and go,” says Diego. “I want to make sure that La Plage stays current and is a place where people can let their hair down and enjoy themselves while making new friends. People travel from all corners of the world to come to our parties, so everyone is welcome: the only rule is to have a good time!”
Next I see Simi Singh – founder of luxury London accessories label, Black and Brown. “I thinkLewis Hamilton is here,” says Simi excitedly. I follow her finger and yes the guy she is pointing to does bear an uncanny resemblance to the Formula 1 racing ace, but by now I may be a tad tipsy. Before I can ascertain whether it really is the former World Champion, he’s disappeared – lost among the stilt walking fire breathers.
And it’s time for me to do the same. But I’ll be back having learned that the best time to party is not necessarily after dark.
The next La Plage party takes on Sat 20 June at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel. Strictly invitation only – for bookings please click here