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In hipster district Russafa, the ever-shifting concept of brunch is producing some weird and wonderful results
It’s Saturday morning in Valencia. Get your beanie hats on, tie up your top-knots, prune your beards and bring your Apple Mac chargers: it’s time to visit three of the best brunch cafés in Russafa.
A Quick History of Brunch
Brunch as a concept has been through quite some journey. It’s believed to have originated around 1885 as a Sunday morning hangover cure for English hunters. It then adopted Mimosas and Bloody Marys in Chicago through the prohibition era of the roaring 1920s before experimentation flourished in the 90s within gentrified areas of New York.
The gradual anglicisation of European cities has perhaps triggered this fourth wave of brunch popularity. In a district teeming with cafés and restaurants, this breakfast-lunch hybrid is serious business. High competition has led to ridiculously good value with increasingly creative and unusual twists.
Option #1 – Bluebell
Selling points: quirky flavours, beautiful interior, artisan coffee
Bluebell serves up some of the most bizarre flavour combinations you’ll ever see. Whilst not ideal for fragile stomachs, the beautifully constructed main dishes are always impressive. Previous examples have included: chicken waffles in mint sauce; salmon pancakes; fish pudding; and poached egg in curry sauce.
- Lemonade/ Mimosa/ Bloody Mary
- Dish of the day
- Coffee/ tea
- Guaranteed bearded man on Apple Mac
- Expats/ students trying to impress parents with ‘off the beaten track’ locations
Option #2 – Guayoyo
Selling points: fresh juices, art exhibitions, yoga, dog-friendly, vegetarian/ vegan friendly
Guayoyo’s brunch menu is based on fresh, clean, locally sourced ingredients. Unlike other cafes, the ‘DIY’ system offers you a much wider choice whilst still representing incredible value for money. Healthy eating is key to their philosophy whilst still acknowledging that everyone needs a bit of cake in their life.
Option #3 – Dulce de Leche
Selling points: wide menu, massive portions of cake, terrace, great service, value for money
Located dangerously close to the local gym, Duche de Leche is quickly developing a cult following among locals and international students due to its wide selection of quality cake. Despite the onslaught of caffeine/ sugar deprived Valencians, the service is surprisingly slick. Their brunch sticks to much safer, popular combinations than Bluebell & Guayoyo but it’s a winning combination none-the-less. Catch them on a week they’re serving bacon for a magnificent, bacony hangover cure.
In New York and London, brunch has received much criticism for its association with white, middle class gentrification. It inspired columnist Shawn Micallef to write a book called ‘The Trouble with Brunch’ and was somewhat hyperbolically labeled by The Guardian as ‘a potent symbol of urban cultural decline.’ Luckily these arguments do not apply here.
Brunch suits the Spanish late start to the day as well as its sociable café culture. It’s therefore no surprise that these cafés attract a diverse range of citizens (of all ages) from across the city. Russafa has evolved into the gastronomical capital of Valencia and its establishments seem more than happy to embrace the tried-and-tested yet experimental traditions of brunch.