Location: 603 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Crowd: Laidback, mid-20-something crowd
Vibe: Casual, trendy vibe minus the pretentiousness
Drink: Rosé sangria (when available)
Sundays were meant for brunching, right? So I was pretty excited when I heard that trendy restaurant and bar, E.P. &. L.P., had just announced a new weekend brunch menu at their West Hollywood rooftop. Even more excited that my Sunday was free and my foodie gal pal was equally eager to give it a go.
Once we arrive, hungry and curious, a blonde hostess at the check-in table greets us with “Hi babes!” We take the elevators straight to the rooftop where we're greeted with panoramic views of the sprawling city. Decked out with round high-top tables and turquoise seating, neon signs, timber paneling and a greater assortment of pot plants than at a Home Depot nursery, it already seems to have struck that happy balance between stylish and casual. However, the rooftop seems rather empty at the moment, which could only mean a) party-goers are still recovering from a wild Saturday night or b) this new weekend brunch menu might just be our little secret.
We're soon escorted to a table in the northeast corner, which we’re told is the "best corner table on the Sunset Terrace". Hot tip: peer through the glass wall facing the Hollywood Hills and you’ll see a colorful butterfly mural (and popular Insta backdrop), created by artist Marisabel Bazan.
We're really starting to feel the sun's rays beat down. It's mid October in LA yet we're literally (okay, not literally) dying of heat on this rooftop. Luckily, our lovely waitress (and savior) takes our drink order. Perusing the menu, there's all your classic brunch cocktails like Bloody Marys and Mimosas, as well as a special Sunday spritz menu. There's even a 'Bubble Tea Mouth Party' bubble tea menu, with fun names like “Californication” or “Straight Outta Melrose”. I opt for the Rosé sangria — it had me at “seasonal fresh berries” — while my friend orders the Thunderstruck, a concoction of seasonal gin, coconut water and vanilla, with cantaloupe boba pearls floating inside. Both prove insanely good thirst quenchers.
With our first round of drinks well and truly gone, we turn our sights to the brunch menu, curated by Aussie-Fijian executive chef, Louis Tikaram. Showcasing a modern take on traditional southeast Asian fare, there are standout dishes like soft shell crab bao served fried with a spicy salsa verde, plus a brown rice bowl that comes topped with egg, white soy and ginger. Placing our carb-loaded order, I go for the more conventional B.A.E. (an open-faced bagel with avo and a hard-boiled egg), while my friend goes the fried chicken sandwich with waffle fries.
Looking around, West Hollywood's young and beautiful are slowing starting to trickle in and fill empty tables, no doubt about to divulge the details of last night's antics over brunch.
Our food finally arrives so my brunch mate and I immediately stage our plates for a photo shoot like we're pro food bloggers...we're not (#sorrynotsorry). But the team in the kitchen have already done all the work in terms of artistic presentation.
I’m finally ready to make my way to B.A.E. (see what I did there?) but upon my first bite, it doesn't blow my mind. The chili jam on top does add a nice kick, though. I try my friend's food, and the crunchy waffle fries are an undeniably delightful addition to the smaller-than-average crispy chicken sandwich. It is satisfyingly juicy inside, so it is still worth it, unless you're ravenous.
I finish my meal with an E.P. green juice (because what is an LA brunch without a dose of liquid greens?), which is locally sourced from Greenhouse Market, a local vendor at the Original Farmers Market.
As we’re closing out, the manager brings over a housemade coconut yogurt bowl, compliments of the chef, which is a refreshing treat. Overall the food is good, but the drinks prove more impressive. However it seems what you’re really paying for (at a pretty reasonable price, mind you) is to be on a rather swanky rooftop with one of the best views of the city. Not a bad way to kickstart our Sunday Funday at all.
Photo credits: E.P. & L.P.
Disclaimer: VIVA was a guest of E.P. & L.P., however opinions and comments made by the writer remain unbiased and independent.