“Although we’re mates from school, Brother Marcus wasn’t an idea until a couple of years after leaving uni. Having worked in street food together one summer, and with Tasos’ Greek upbringing, we decided to give it a go on our own and opened our first site Brother Marcus Balham in 2016. Taking over a greasy spoon, we turned it into a neighbourhood spot initially only serving brunch. We were the sole staff for the first weekend but quickly learned our lesson and seven years later we have four sites in London, and some amazing staff!
Mediterranean cooking and hospitality is at the heart of Brother Marcus, we want to bring family together through food. Tasos is from Crete and grew up in his parents’ restaurant kitchen helping out with anything that needed doing. Although being ‘fired’ multiple times, he soaked up all the cooking styles, methods, and flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean, and some of the recipes in the book have been passed down through generations in his family. Our dishes use typical Eastern Med spices and ingredients with British seasonal produce.
Over the years we have trialled and tested a lot of recipes. Brunch with Brother Marcus is a collection of all our classic brunch dishes and drinks, and our personal favourites, from the last seven years for you to give a go at home. YAMAS!” Alex Large.
Brunch with Brother Marcus: Recipes from the Eastern Med by Tasos Gaitanos and Alex Large, £25, Kitchen Press
Chia seed bowl
Our summery chia seed breakfast bowl is beautifully aromatic. We infuse the chia seeds with a mountain tea that grows wild in the southern mountain ranges of Crete. It is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant as well as delicious and is well worth seeking out. This recipe needs to be made at least 45 minutes in advance to allow time for the chia seeds to do their magic and absorb the tea-infused coconut milk. We top each bowl with a handful of our homemade maple granola, but you can also use store bought.
for the spiced tea:
1 sprig of Greek mountain tea (or an Earl Grey tea bag)
1 cinnamon stick
a slice of apple
2 sprigs of mint
for the coconut chia seeds:
1 batch spiced tea
75g chia seeds
50ml coconut milk
250ml oat milk
4 handfuls maple granola
4 strawberries, quartered
seeds of a 1/2 pomegranate
mint leaves for garnishing
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 First, make a batch of spiced tea. Put the tea, cinnamon, clove, apple slice and mint in a small pan and add 250ml water. Bring it to the boil, then leave to sit for a minute before straining into a bowl.
2 Add the chia seeds, coconut milk and oat milk and stir, then cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 45 minutes. This can also be done the night before – if it’s too thick by the morning, just add a splash of water.
3 To serve, divide the coconut chia seeds between the bowls, add a handful of granola and arrange blueberries, raspberries and strawberry quarters over the top. Now scatter over some pomegranate seeds and finish with a few mint leaves and a drizzle of maple syrup.
French toast crumpets
This is our decadent take on a brunch classic. We caramelise our French toast crumpets and drizzle them with our special carob treacle, so they are guaranteed to satisfy any sweet cravings!
for the poached apple:
100g caster sugar
1 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
1 green apple such as Granny Smith
for the apple purée:
3 green apples such as Granny Smith
1 cinnamon stick
for the carob treacle:
30g carob molasses
150g golden syrup
200ml whole milk
a pinch of ground cinnamon plus extra for dusting
a pinch of ground nutmeg
100g demerara sugar
100g Greek yoghurt to serve
1 Start by poaching the apple. Place the sugar, star anise and cinnamon stick in a pan with 500ml water and bring slowly to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, then take off the heat. Peel the apple and cut into 5mm cubes, disposing of the core and seeds. Place the apple cubes in the syrup and bring back up to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Take care not to overpoach the apple
cubes as you want them to retain their form and texture.
2 Then make the apple purée. Peel, core and quarter the apples and place the pieces in a small roasting tin. Add the butter, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 180ºC fan. Once soft, transfer to a bowl, discard the cinnamon stick and use a stick blender to blitz until smooth.
3 Make the carob treacle by mixing the carob molasses with the golden syrup in a small bowl.
4 Now prepare the crumpets by whisking the eggs with the milk, cinnamon and nutmeg in a wide bowl.
5 Soak the crumpets in the eggy mixture while you melt 50g butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Pan-sear the soaked crumpets until the egg mix has lightly cooked on one side then flip them. Lightly sprinkle with half the demerara sugar, then flip them again. Add the remaining butter and fry over a medium heat, caramelising the sugar while also toasting the crumpets. Sprinkle the other side with demerara and flip and cook until
both sides are golden.
6 Serve two crumpets on a plate with a generous spoonful of apple purée and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. Spoon the apple cubes over the yoghurt and drizzle with carob treacle, then dust with a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving.