This past weekend, Percy and I bundled up in our winter scarves and sweaters and headed to brunch at Circa at The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel. The Gwen, formally the Conrad Hotel, has been a favorite spot of mine since moving to Chicago four and a half years ago.
That’s because it’s conveniently located near all of the best shops that the Magnificent Mile has to offer and has an awesome rooftop bar. Chris and I used to frequent it for a night-cap after dining somewhere downtown.
The Gwen has since opened, and the interior is just stunning. Circa bar and restaurant is modern and chic. With plush booths and brass bar stools, this place is Instagram heaven.
We chose to sit in the bar area because it was more lively. It was just past noon, so we were starving and were happy to see that the menu offered both breakfast and lunch items to accommodate diners depending on what kind of mood they are in.
We started with cocktails; a standard mimosa with orange juice for me, and a rose mimosa for Percy, made with sparkling rose and grapefruit juice. We both tried each other’s respective beverages and admitted that we were both happy with our choices.
Starving, we were quick to make some dining decisions. Percy, the fried chicken-loving aficionado he is, went for the fried chicken and egg sandwich, sans the egg. I was anxious to try the “Gwen Toast” (being the avo-toast aficionado I am). Then we decided to share the pancakes with a berry compote and a side of bacon.
The fried chicken sandwich was tasty. It came served on a bun with mayo and thinly sliced pickles, which I loved. I would have preferred some sort of aioli with a kick, as opposed to regular mayonnaise, but it did not ruin the dish by any means. While I love a crispy fried chicken, this one was a little too overdone.
My avocado toast was simple yet delectable. Chunky avocado came atop thick grilled country bread, with radishes, arugula, and everything bagel spice. I am really jumping on the everything bagel spice bandwagon and truly cannot resist when I see it with something on a brunch menu.
Of course I could not eat too healthy; this was my unofficial cheat day (as if I have one)! The pancakes came with a pretty purple berry compote on top and powdered sugar. They were light and fluffy and a nice sweet finish to the brunch. Additionally, the bacon was cut thick and the perfect portion to share.
Our service was great, and the brunch was a relaxing but enjoyable one. It was also wonderful to go outside and enjoy our second round of mimosas in the brisk cool air by the fireplace on the fifth floor rooftop. There was even a curling setup; what fun!
The Bitches say: B. While this isn’t necessarily a destination brunch spot, by hotel restaurant standards Circa is refreshing and chic; a delightful spot to relax and enjoy a long brunch.
Circa at The Gwen
521 N Rush St.
Circa serves daily breakfast and weekend brunch.