Nothing hits the spot after a night of bar-hopping quite like a good brunch — a meal with enough sodium and caloric load to make you feel like something that closely approximates a human being. But ideally this meal consists of more than salt and fat alone: The perfect hangover cure contains flavors that invigorate the taste buds and enliven the lethargic spirit in equal measure. And yes, a $3 Bloody Mary doesn't hurt, either.
The Independent Bar & Kitchen appears to have quickly and expertly carved out a home in Deep Ellum in which the foibles of Saturday nights can be forgotten between bites of bangers and beans. The Independent comes courtesy of Josh Florence, who is no stranger to the ins and outs of running a business in Dallas as the owner of City Tavern and co-owner of Club Dada and Off the Record.
Florence and co-owners Phil Coward, Bryan Austin and Tim Daniels brought chef Andrew Dilda (formerly of Barter) on board to head the kitchen and design a menu highlighting rustic, European comfort food. On the dinner menu this vision translates to standbys like Shepherd's pie, Scotch eggs and fish and chips as well as some more adventurous options like pork knuckles brined in IPA.
The brunch menu, meanwhile, is a heavy affair indeed. Cinnamon rolls ($8), eggs Benedict topped with three kinds of breakfast meat ($13), Dutch babies with blueberry Cola compote ($12) and a puzzling version of migas ($14) that combines spaetzle and tikka-rubbed chicken in what has to be the least-migas migas of all time populate a menu that promises to expand waistbands.
The breakfast sandwich ($13) was no exception. A crusty roll is filled with bangers (known as sausages by those who think of the monarchy as being charming rather than a nauseating anachronism) Welsh rarebit, bacon and fried eggs. The salty, deliciously fatty bangers are fried until the edges become crisp, their fat settling into the roll to achieve a bun grease level that many impersonate but few achieve. The presence of bacon and a savory, cheesy sauce known as Welsh rarebit cement the dish as a thing of epic cheat days. Thinly sliced dill pickle, lightly pickled fresh tomatoes and bibb lettuce help lighten things up a bit (not to mention the fries, which as all parents know are a vegetable.)
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The English breakfast plate ($15) also did not disappoint. The thick-cut bacon was perfumed with smoke and the accompanying ham and Cumberland sausage rounded out the meat trifecta. Cumberland sausage gets its famous texture from chopped — rather than ground or minced — meat and is a popular choice for the traditional English breakfast. The plate also came with a cup of lightly curried white beans, a tempura battered mushroom and grilled tomato. Last but not bloody least was the tattie scone, a savory midday favorite of Scotland akin to a potato pancake and pure comfort in triangular form.
The Independent Bar & Kitchen has only been open for two months and brunch service just began, but it's already filling the bellies of headbangers and thrifters alike with an elevated and surprisingly thoughtful brand of pub food. It is the kind of food that at once calls to the hungover and to the sober like a pan-fried siren song — a feat of cookery if there ever was one.
The Independent Bar & Kitchen, 2712 Main St. Open for brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday