The unashamedly business-like InterContinental Hotel isn’t the most obvious wrapper for Cookbook Café’s country-kitchen looks, but shelves of bestsellers, a rough-hewn wooden buffet cart & live cooking stations create an irresistible bolthole for laid-back grazing. Lunch is a big draw, when artisan cheeses, cured meats, sushi, DIY salads, smoked fish & suchlike are loaded onto the groaning market table for unlimited access. Weekend brunches add booze aplenty, classic breakfast items & tapas-style mains of steak & béarnaise or sea bream on mash, plus an entire bar filled with desserts; for around £50, it’s the ultimate lazy afternoon. There are midweek dinners, too – think enjoyable renditions of, say, char-grilled duck with maple-infused sweet potatoes & guacamole. Only some generous discounts for the under-18s threaten to break the serenity.
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