A History of Brunch

From pancakes, waffles and eggs to Champagne, Bloody Marys and mimosas, the list of things we consume at brunch is truly endless. A tantalizing mix of two key meals, brunch is unsurprisingly a favorite pastime of many foodies in Cayman. Before we round up the best places to indulge in this weekend staple, let’s look back at its history. Where exactly did the ingenious and delicious idea come from?

Brunch’s beginnings

While the name itself is undoubtedly a mix of breakfast and lunch, the meal’s origin is a little less straightforward. The first possibility dates to 19th century England when the upper classes would typically spend their Sundays hunting in the countryside. Famished from their energetic exploits on horseback, hunting parties would sit down around midday to enjoy a huge spread of food that was often several courses – and hours – long.

During this same century, there was also a rise in Saturday night party-going. Like now, hungover revelers preferred to spend their mornings recovering in bed before waking up to a leisurely meal around midday. In an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, journalist Guy Beringer described this as a “cheerful, sociable and inciting” meal that “puts you in a good temper”. Most modern brunch-goers would certainly still agree with that.

American adaptation

While a firmly established meal in the UK, it wasn’t until the 20th century that brunch reached the shores of North America. In the 1930s, many hotels in the U.S. started to serve it on a Sunday as restaurants were often closed. Realizing that there was money to be made, though, bistros to diners soon followed the trend and many venues still offer brunch as a standard weekend meal.

Brunch didn’t really take off properly in America until the 1940s when people started to attend church less, choosing instead to spend their Sundays relaxing and recuperating before the start of a new week. With more women working too, brunch was often eaten out to give the whole family a proper day off. The concept of this leisurely meal soon started to spread to all four corners of the globe – including the Cayman Islands.

Where to eat brunch in Cayman

Eggs Benedict in New York, pancakes in South Africa, bagels in Canada, dim sum in China, an extravagant buffet in Dubai – wherever you eat brunch in the world, it’s undeniable that it should be a decadent, lengthy and sociable meal. Here are a few of our favorite brunch spots in Cayman that fulfill those criteria:

Luca

Seafood fans will be in their element: Luca’s spread of sashimi, crudo, shellfish, tataki and sushi is second to none. Given this restaurant’s Italian accent you will find treats such as focaccia and a live pasta station as well as Sunday classics like a carvery (featuring Rack of Lamb and Beef Wellington) and cooked breakfast buffet. Chef Roman plans different dishes each week according to the freshest in-season ingredients, meaning even returning locals can always find something new to sample. This is also one of few Cayman brunch spots where you can dine on Seven Mile Beach, with direct views of the sea.

Sunday 11:30-2:30pm

+1 345 6234550, luca.ky/brunch

Anchor & Den

Held in the Marriott’s buzzing lobby venue, the Boulangerie Brunch keeps us coming back with its variously themed brunches, whether it’s a homage to French or Asian cuisine, or something special for Mother’s Day or Easter. A generous spread of charcuterie, regional cheeses and home-baked breads are a constant ever Sunday though, as is the raw bar and bottomless De Chanceny’s Cremant de Loire Champagne. A more recent regular addition is the unlimited ‘Grab & Go’ cocktail station. It’s also known for the diversity of global dishes on offer – from Indian curries to Spanish tapas – reflecting the fact the many different countries its 30 chefs hail from.

Sunday 12pm-3pm

+1 345 949 0088, anchorandden.com

Agua

Another brunch option that’s known for the quality of its fresh seafood, Agua chef Antonio Mercado makes an extensive ceviche selection. Choose between Cayman-style with a Scotch bonnet hit, the red curry infused Thai, spicy baja and plenty more besides. Egg specialties can be ordered al a carte to ensure they reach the table cooked to perfection, including truffled eggs, an ‘Agua benedict’ with avocado and dill Hollandaise, or even a pulled pork and fried egg. The same goes for cooked-to-order main courses – think: beef Wellington, pastas or smoked duck breast. As for drinks, beyond the usual Prosecco there is now a cocktail option. Mixologist Aurelien Rouhard’s concoctions include the No More Frozen, which combines an Abuelo Seven-year rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and lime juice.

Sunday 11:30am-3pm

+1 345 949 2482, agua.ky/agua_brunch/

Catch

Escape Seven Mile Beach for a delightful a la carte brunch in West Bay. Seated on Catch’s waterfront deck, you can pick from indulgent offerings such as a lobster roll, duck confit waffles or an epic brunch burger. Alternatively, there is a tapas-style menu in which you try four mini savory dishes and a trio of desserts for $39, adding all you can drink bubbles for $19.

Sunday 11:30am-4:30pm

+1 345 949 4321, catch.ky

Ave @ the Kimpton Seafire

Other island restaurants have been forced to up their brunch game since the Kimpton arrived in 2016. It kicked off the trend for serving craft cocktails in addition to Cava, and wowed with its chic, light-flooded interior design. There isn’t such a wide choice of food as some of the other venues, especially for veggies, but after a few glasses of the Corpse Reviver you might not care.

Sunday 12-3:30pm

+1 345 746 4111, averestaurant.com