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Somerset Brunch

Walking through the Gold Coast, you’ve surely passed the vibrant patio scene outside of the new Viceroy hotel. On most warm – and even warm-ish – days, Boka’s new venture is packed with brunch-goers who are drinking Aperol spritzes until they’re convinced it’s summer. Somerset is one of the most festive and summer-y destinations around, brightening up this otherwise gray and dreary Chicago spring.

Somerset 1

Somerset invited us in to try the brunch menu, so I ventured up with my friend Katlin on a recent Saturday. The weather was sunny and chilly, but the patio looked like too much fun to sit indoors. If you do go on a colder day though, don’t be disappointed. The indoor décor is an airy “country club-inspired” space with high ceilings, wood paneling, leather banquets, and an all-around warm-vibe.

Somerset 2

The day we brunched happened to be the Kentucky Derby, so the crowd was sprinkled with pastel dresses and big hats. To celebrate, we ordered a blueberry julep, plus the aforementioned Aperol spritz.

Somerset 3

The julep was comprised of knob creek rye 100, blueberry lemon and mint. It was on the sweet side – but it worked. The crushed ice and mint sprig felt festive and the drink was sweet and refreshing. The aperol spritz was ginormous! Still, it was a light and refreshing, tasty patio drink.

Somerset 4

We started with the cinnamon roll, frosted with vanilla bean cream cheese. Like the Aperol spritz, it was also enormous. We were a little bit surprised to find that it was served at room temperature. I think it would have been more delicious had it been served warm, but I must say that they nailed the frosting to cake ratio and the cream cheese was delicious with prominent vanilla flavors.

Somerset 6

Katlin ordered the fried chicken and French toast with sriracha honey and whipped butter. The chicken had just the right amount of batter, but the meat was a little on the dry side. The sriracha gave the dish a nice kick.

Somerset 7

I ordered the avocado toast on sourdough. Instead of sunny-side up eggs, I asked for scrambled. What they brought was not exactly scrambled – I think maybe it was a fried egg? So I skipped the egg, but the avocado tasted fresh and delicious. It was presented as more of a spread – like a guacamole – topped with cayenne pepper over thick toast. The salad was a nice light supplement to the toast.

Overall, we enjoyed our experience. It definitely felt like a mini vacation away from Chicago. The restaurant’s patio vibe feels more like Miami or The Hamptons than is does Chicago. Because it’s so busy, prepare for a leisurely pace. Our brunch was about two hours beginning to end, which I think is probably typical on busy days.

The Bitches say: four Champagne flutes!

This trendy Gold Coast destination feels like a little brunch vacation.

Somerset serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Jackie Bender

Chicago Editor-in-Chief

As a TV host, reporter and producer, Jackie has a well-manicured finger on all things "lifestyle" in Chicago from red carpets to parties, fashion and - of course - the city's hottest restaurants. She's been known to crash chefs' kitchens with cameras to learn their trade secrets and is trying to live her best life one mimosa at a time.

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