Things change yet so much stays the same. I'm pushing the definition of brunch, being close to 3.00pm, but technically as I'm just breaking the fast, I think it could be called breakfast. And given the ever-present presence of classic breakfast dishes at bills, I don't think my stomach or anyone else really minds.
In hindsight the hot chocolate at bills would have been an even better remedy for cold fingers and a tender head, but the cappuccino isn't dreadful. It just doesn't feel like the soothingly strong, caffeine hit it should.
We've breakfast on our minds and neither the herbed french fries over there, nor the wagyu burger yonder will stray us from our path.
There's no petite, sissiness when it comes to the corn fritters; two mammoth patties balanced and sandwiching a thick-cut bacon rasher, baby spinach leaves and roasted tomato. The avocado salsa is a revelation of ripe, creamy avocado, lemon juice (or is it lime?) and coriander; a zippy boost of flavour and goodness that would subdue any aches of the head. The fritters positively bulge with fresh corn kernels in a nice ratio to the shallot-specked batter. The spinach and tomato are complementary and necessary; the single rasher of crisp bacon perfectly sufficient; and the dish overall is very, very filling.
Bill Granger's famous ricotta hotcakes also get a billing on our table and look mouthwatering from the get go. Three almost-ludicrously thick hotcakes hide fresh banana pieces and tempt with two rounds of butter flecked with honeycomb. A mini jug of syrup finishes off this decadent, anytime-of-the-day meal that espouses richness and sweetness - the banana a guilty concession to the sugar, dairy and carb fest.
Slowly but surely the fast is broken, if not obliterated. It's a lesson in doing whatever one wants, whenever one wants - a rebellion to routine and convention that certain changes in life have brought on. We continue the lesson by ignoring the very recent breakfast meal in favour of the actual time: wine o'clock by my watch and so it's over the road to the welcoming arms of a glass of pinot noir by the fireplace at the Dolphin Hotel. Some things will never change.