I’d been dreaming about these dulche de leche pancakes forever. I’m usually sold on the sight of fluffy pancakes alone, let alone when they’re drowned in a dreamy dulche de leche sauce. Even the word dulche de leche sounds incredible doesn’t it!? For those of you who don’t know what it is (what planet are you from!?) it’s like a creamier, more indulgent version of caramel, and it is divine! I’d seen them across social media and they were every bit as good as they look – if not better. Four thick, fluffy ricotta pancakes piled up high and topped with lashings of dulche de leche, sliced banana and a sprinkling of icing sugar – look at the shine on that sauce!
Anyway back to the beginning and a bit about NAC. Short for North Audley Cantine, it’s a French bistro open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner located just off Oxford Street in the heart of Mayfair. It’s a small place which doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside despite it’s size, it’s beautiful. The décor does have a slight bistro feel to it but the upstairs is modern and quirky with whitewashed walls, a mix of wooden and marble tables and a mix of wooden stools and leather banquette seating.
We started off with flat whites and a matcha latte. I also got a couple of Americanos, though I’m convinced my second Americano was twice as strong as the first – I love my coffee strong but I had to add half a pot of milk to tone it down! Their coffee was lovely though and the matcha latte was the perfect sweetness, though there were the usual intensely bitter clumps of powder at the bottom which so many places seem to be unable to avoid!
Despite calling themselves a French bistro, they serve up a huge range of dishes covering all continents, ranging from burgers and Cajun chicken to burrata and veal schnitzels and their version of the latest food trend, poke. To me, the only discernible French option on the menu is beef tartare with fries! Even their dessert menu is far from French; there isn’t a tarte tatin, a crème brûlée or a crepe in sight! Regardless of what cuisine they think they serve though, their brunch menu was pretty much my dream menu and every single dish brought out looked amazing!
They have a section with five sweet options, every single one of which sounds incredible, ranging from crushed milk chocolate cookies with Frosties soft serve to acai bowls. Tempting as the cookies sounded, when I go for brunch, I never really fancy dessert options (and I know when I’m in London I’ll be having several cake/donut/cookie stops later on in the day!) and as I’ve said (perhaps controversially!) many times before, much as I love the idea of French toast, I often find it to look and sound a lot more tempting than it actually is. For me it was a no brainer anyway, I had my heart set on the pancakes, and I’d have been seriously disappointed if I didn’t get them! Then it was time to decide on savoury options and thank goodness I didn’t just have to choose one! We ended up sharing the merguez shakshuka baked eggs with feta, za’atar and pitta, the ahi tuna poke with avocado, quinoa and seaweed and the smoked salmon with rye bread, feta, boiled eggs and avocado. Yep.. we really like food 😉
All of their food is presented beautifully, and if you’re lucky enough to get a seat near the door (we weren’t! 😦 ) it’s bright too thanks to the natural light pouring in – an Instagrammer’s dream! Each dish was perfectly laid out and the pitta (which was an accompaniment to the baked eggs) even came in a pretty pink striped bag to keep it warm! Most importantly it tasted every bit as good as it looked! I’ve already raved about the pancakes, and for me they were definitely the highlight, but everything else was amazing too. The baked eggs were deliciously spiced in a rich tomato sauce with a generous sprinkling of feta on top and the pitta was so light and fluffy – perfect to mop up the juices. The smoked salmon plate had all of my favourites – a soft boiled egg, feta cheese, creamy avocado and tangy pickles and the tuna poke was light and fresh. The tuna was marinated in an intensely salty soy dressing which I found pretty overpowering, but the creamy avocado and otherwise plain quinoa balanced it out a little.
Overall it was a perfect brunch spot. A lovely location, beautiful interior, decent service and seriously good food. I have to admit that their lunch and dinner looks a little uninspiring; obviously I can’t pass judgement on the actual quality of the food but none of the dishes sound particularly exciting and they whack a hefty price tag on there – Cajun chicken with corn and tomatoes will set you back seventeen pounds (and you have to choose between fries or salad!) and a veal schnitzel (which is essentially just a breadcrumbed piece of meat, no!?) will set you back twenty four! In fact, come to think of it their brunch menu wasn’t the cheapest either. The prices vary wildly with some very reasonably priced dishes – you can get plenty of eggs and the incredible pancakes for under a tenner – yet the three savoury dishes we ordered were around fifteen pounds each, which (whilst I didn’t realise at the time as I was too busy chatting to my friend!) is very pricey for a brunch dish, particularly when you consider that they’re not particularly sizeable. That said, it’s definitely worth a try at least once! The atmosphere, location and the quality of the food (and they effort they put into the presentation!) made it a very memorable brunch, and while the prices would stop me from rushing back, the heavenly pancakes certainly wouldn’t!!
Link to their website: