Ollie's Modern Life #38

This month, Ollie Peart guzzles his way to the bottom of a bottomless brunch, and finds Armageddon


Lunch? What are you, stupid? It’s brunch these days darling and not just any kind of brunch, a bottomless one. An experience that’s about as close as I can imagine to being half big fat pig, half medieval king quaffing wine and clinking tankards with froth sloshing onto your rosy red cheeks.

Bottomless Brunches have consumed London in particular at such a pace that Google literally sicks up hundreds of articles entitled ‘The Best Bottomless Brunches In London’. They’ve become a huge hit over the last year, mostly because of the free-flowing booze, and I was about to experience one for the first time.

I had no idea what a bottomless brunch was so here’s a simple explanation; it’s a booze-fuelled festival of gluttony crammed like mechanically reclaimed meat into the sausage casing constraints of a stopwatch. You’re timed (typically for 90 minutes) while free-flowing booze (typically prosecco) is delivered to your table and you gorge on never ending reams of food (typically oily and fattening).

Before we arrived I had another look at the T and C’s. The important thing to know about a bottomless brunch is that it is timed and there are rules. I’d been told how important it was to know them intimately. The level of scrutiny that was afforded to this document was more than I’d given to my mortgage policy.

I briefed the three others attending with me. We would have 90 minutes, we could order three dishes at a time, each, and fresh bottles of prosecco would be served once the last bottle was empty. The rules led to a strategy. Order fast. Get the first three dishes out quickly and tank the first bottle of prosecco in the first 5 minutes. It turned into a game.

We arrived at an unreasonably dark restaurant, the type that boggled your mind as to how much had been spent on it. There were staff everywhere and every table was an augmented reality table. It had games, you could watch the chef cook your food or draw pictures. It was quickly pointed out this was a distraction, a tactic by the restaurant to stop us ordering too much, slow down our eating and ultimately, lose.

The waitress explained the rules that we’d already versed ourselves in, handed us an iPad and said our time had already started. It was at that point that any sense of rationality packed its bags and fucked off for 90 minutes. I got panicky and excited. We ordered up three meals each right off the bat. There were four of us, the table looked like a Christmas advert for M&S. The first bottle of prosecco was gone in 5 minutes so we tapped the ‘call waiter’ button to secure the next batch.

For 15 minutes I was the most disgusting fucking pig I think I have ever been. I gorged on bang-bang cauliflower and gulleted acres of noodles like a fucking pelican. I barely chewed, tossing sushi into my gob, stacking it up in my neck Tom and Jerry style. The bright lights of the table combined with the bubbly blurriness from the prosecco made the whole experience feel like a weird dream. I was an utterly shameless big fat fucker who didn’t care about anything. Literally nothing. I could have whatever I wanted and no one was going to tell me otherwise.

An hour had gone by and we were on our fourth bottle of prosecco with the fifth arriving imminently. As far as the ‘game’ element as going, we were winning. But then something happened, I needed the loo. I didn’t want to waste time pissing but needs must, so I hurried to the bathroom and when I returned something unexpected hit me. I saw us, not just my group but the whole restaurant. It was a carefully choreographed, mass synchronised transfer of calorific food into the gobs of mindless, drugged up pigs.

It was a hint of some sick dystopian future where we were force fed like foie gras geese while the world around us descended into chaos. For 90 minutes you are literally invited to not give a fuck about anything aside from yourself and it was the perfect embodiment of everything that is wrong with the world.

We are timed. Climate catastrophes, Brexit and our own mortality, timed. Countdown timers delivered to us on the regular, reminders that soon it will all go to shit. So what do we do? We YOLO. We embody that ethos with zero fucks given to future generations. The Bottomless Brunch is a micro example of the societal norm we seem to have adopted. Individualistic and self-centred. But that comes at a price. We’re more anxious, stressed and tired chasing everything until the inevitability of nothing. We have to stop.

Kids around the globe have been out in their thousands telling us, the adults, to stop. Stop killing ourselves and stop killing them. They are the external observers witnessing our drunken, misguided fuck-ups while we descend into a festival of frivolity until the end of our days because who fucking cares?

For a brief moment, I saw what the kids see, wasted, blinded morons whose only concern is how much stuff they can get through before their time is up. We need to put down the prosecco and take a long hard look in the mirror. Not too long mind, everything’s going to shit and we don’t have much time.

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