Before I commence with suitably fulsome praise of one of the best breakfasts London has to offer, I’m afraid one modest gripe has to be aired.
The Bleeding Heart tavern trades heavily on its insalubrious past – from the animated account of the origin of its name on the website, to the prominent display inside of its 18th Century motto (“drunk for a penny, and dead drunk for two-pence”), and the wall-space devoted to explaining the purpose of its original ‘hay room’ (where paralytic punters were laid out on the aforementioned dried grasses, to recommence their carousing when they awoke).
What a shame then, despite the proud assertion on the website that they are licensed from 7am “can have a glass of Champagne with your Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon”, that when we ventured to procure ourselves a beer to go with our breakfast, we were rebuffed with the excuse that they are only licensed from 11am. Now, there’s nothing wrong with not dishing up drinks before the sun is happily glinting off the Shard – an entirely normal and understandable policy. But if you’re going to trade on the boast that a boozy breakfast is available, well then it really ought to be available.
Now, with that off my chest – the breakfast. What a delight!! After briefly toying with the possibility of alternatives, the Full English proved to be irresistible to all but one of the Breakfasters. Teas and coffees deposited themselves in front of us almost before we’d realised the waitress had finished taking our orders – which was quite welcome, as the wait for the food was a touch on the long side. But your patience is well and truly rewarded here, because when the vittles do arrive they are a sight to make the heart soar. Two succulent rashers of sizzling bacon, two gleaming eggs, a rotund sausage, a slither of juicy mushrooms, a gloriously moist slab of ‘gold label’ black pudding and a blob of beans to round off the plate. Accompanying the platters comes a board loaded with our various toast, white, brown or granary according to preference.
But the true test of the breakfast is not in the seeing. Fortunately, this breakfast more than passes muster in the taste test too. If I say that the sausage is the least impressive part, that is by no means to say that it is any way unpleasant – rather that it is merely an above average piece of pig, and thus falls a little short of the overall theme of excellence that characterises this offering in general. Certainly I would challenge you to find better breakfast bacon than explosion of tastiness you’ll get here – and the mushrooms are simply outstanding, bursting with juicy flavours and perfectly complimenting the more straightforward address to the palate presented by the fresh crunchy toast and two egg (one of which, if I am to be pedantic, is a shade overdone and lacks the requisite runniness of yolk that would provide complete satisfaction). The tomato, hot from the grill, is of comparably commendable calibre. With an admirable attention to detail, the butter pats come in little hearts – each ready, like the titular Lady Elizabeth Hatton, to receive their own knife …
I would be remiss if I were not to mention the marvellous selection of preserves that accompany the toast offering, which were approvingly sampled by all present. But to round off the whole experience as a resounding success, the bill for each breakfast comes to a mere £7.95 – all inclusive. None of this “coffee is extra” nonsense that you get some places. Service is also included. As value for money goes, you won’t get much better than here – top quality, very reasonable price.