Test Drives

Brunch

toscaTosca financier topped with caramelised almonds

It wouldn't be a proper trip to New York without trying at least one weekend brunch and we were aiming to end our trip on a strong note. So we cabbed it out of Manhattan and back across to Greenpoint to try out Sauvage, the new restaurant from the folks at Maison Premiere, which opened at the end of May. In some ways we're sad we didn't get to try at least one of the six forms of hand-chiselled ice they're rumoured to be using in cocktails, but this was after five days of wining and dining our way through the best that New York has to offer, so we settled our stomachs with some Darjeeling and a decent pot of coffee.

We kicked off brunch with a pleasing round smoked cornbread served with carrot butter ($2.75) and a ruddy marvellous Tosca financier topped with caramelised almonds ($3).

sauvageBreakfast biscuit with Nueske's smoked bacon

There is a definite bent towards greens in Sauvage's brunch menu, so we felt honour bound to try one of those dishes - a spelt savoury pancake made with courgette had a wonderfully soggy middle of caramelised onions and was dotted with Wisconsin driftless cream cheese ($13) and courgette flowers. An unbilled green salad may have been the nicest greens we'd had in months. Of course one of us needed to go for the piggy option which here meant the breakfast biscuit (scone) with Nueske's smoked bacon - also from Wisconsin - and as a good a piece of smoked pigginess that you're likely to have anywhere.

If you're here on time and coming during the warmer months, the outside tables are perfect for people watching, but if you are looking for a perfect perch inside, then the corner table we had at the back corner looking out was about the best in the place.

Sauvage is at 905 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11222. Find out more about Sauvage

 

Pre-flight drinks and snacks

employeesReuben salt beef croquettes and buttermilk battered shrimp served with sriracha mayo

As with their lounge in London, Virgin Atlantic have teamed up with some interesting bars for their JFK business offering. When we swung through it was award-winning bar Employees Only who had come up with a range of small plates and cocktails. If you're travelling soon, we'd definitely recommend their reuben salt beef croquettes and buttermilk battered shrimp served with sriracha mayo.

After a quick head massage in the Dr Hauschka spa (so good we almost fell asleep and didn't make the flight at all), we turned left on entering the aircraft to give Virgin's Upper-Class cabin a Test Drive. The layout of the cabin is very different to British Airways. Here the are three rows of beds, all ranged at an angle, so you're never in the position of getting stuck in the middle having to step over someone else. Once again, this may have been the red eye, but the minute the seatbelt sign was off, half the cabin hiked back to the bar for a chat and a drink. It really feels like this is the USP of Virgin's business travel offering and we loved it.

steakFillet of beef with peppercorn sauce.

Dinner for us included a beautiful fillet of beef with peppercorn sauce and a selection of cheeses that, impressively, weren't served fridge-cold as we might have expected. The Point Reyes Blue from California was a particular favourite. Sadly, for us, the trip back only lasted a scant five and half hours, but we still managed to squeeze in a pretty decent bacon butty before touching down in Heathrow.

Final verdict: If you can swing it, even for Premium Economy, moving up the cabin at Virgin makes a big difference. And we loved the informality of Upper Class - luxury without laying it on with a trowel.

 

The Hot Dinners 2016 guide to New York

The place to go to see everything we ate (and some other new places we'd recommend too). Read the full guide right here.

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