Archive for September, 2013

Very satis-factory

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

It’s not quite apparent what to expect when you open the front door of the Factory House, but there’s a clue in the quirky array of quasi-industrial decor scattered around the upstairs lobby, from the clocking in machine to the obligatory ‘olde worlde’ furniture and books squeezed into the small space atop the open spiral staircase descending into the underbelly of the establishment.

Once there, it’s a fairly familiar set-up that will not leave anyone feeling out of place who has visited any of the various trendy basement-style eating joints that have sprung up over recent years (yes, Hawksmoor, Caravan and the like .. I am thinking of you!).  A selection of tables, booths and bar seating presents itself, all in a deep polished dark veneer wood.  Although I have been deserted by breakfasting comrades on this dim and dark morning, a cursory glance around the room lets me know that the Factory House is not generally unpatronised at 8am, and tables fill steadily as I sample the wares.

A full English is the only possibility given that there’s no-one else to explore the menu with, and Factory House delivers this with aplomb.   I’m always moderately disappointed with the “single sausage” school of thought, however I can usually overcome this provided the sausage is of sufficient quality and I am pleased to say that this bar is passed here.  I must give full credit for the two eggs fried and served up in perfect condition with just the right dash of seasoning.  In some moment of madness, I forget to request that the beans be omitted from my platter.  Given my prejudices on this front, it would be unfair of me to comment on these beyond to say that they were there and that I daresay that those who go in for such things would not find them unpalatable. 

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All other requisites were present and correct – an elegantly fried tomato, some succulent bacon, a slither of mushroom, a dob of bubble & squeak and a proud black pudding.  In all, there was certainly no skimping on the ingredient head-count and it was certainly a satisfactory breakfast.  Its only flaw really is the lack of any real standout feature or element, which is not something I usually look for in a breakfast unless it’s one that costs as much as the Factory House want.  Then, I’m afraid, I do rather expect it – because, charming though the ‘neo-industrial’ ambience may be, if I’m going to fork out £20 for the first meal of my day then I do want it to be a bit special. 

That said, the coffee really was excellent, and I’d be back for some of that without hesitation – but on this offering, there are enough places where your plate will be graced with better fare for the same price that I wouldn’t rush back for the food.

September Breakfast

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Breakfasting venue: The Factory House

Date of breakfasting: 8am, 11 September 2013

Location: No. numberswiki.com

10 Lime Street, Leadenhall Plae, London, EC3M 7AA

Nearest Tube is: Bank/Aldgate

Magnificent Mercer

Friday, September 6th, 2013

It can be hit and miss with some of the better City restaurants if you darken their doors at breakfast.  Some aren’t even open.  Some, as we found on our last sortie, will happily throw together a concoction of such stunning mediocrity that you wonder whether they even think of it as the same place before mi-day.  Not so The Mercer.  To start with, they have an selection of virgin cocktails to whet your appetite as soon as you are seated.  Not wishing to pass this opportunity by, we sampled the Marmalade lemonade, and were not disappointed.   A perfect morning pick-me-up, with zinging fresh lemon juice perfectly sweetened to palatability and a delicious sediment of candied orange peel sitting in the bottom and occasionally shooting up through your straw just to keep you on your toes. 

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The more conventional coffee-hounds were not disappointed either, as the brew here is admirable – and a satisfyingly comprehensive array of teas can be served up at a moment’s notice in proper style – complete with a very nice sort of Victorian looking tea-strainer device.

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But what of the breakfast?  Well here The Mercer is no sluggard either.  Allowing others this time to take the measure of the full English, I opted to sample one of the various other mouth-watering options on the menu – in this case, grilled calf’s liver with bubble and squeak and bacon.  The picture almost speaks for itself on this front.  Is it as good as it looks?  Every bit, and more so!  Perfectly cooked and with an exquisite take on the bubble and squeak concept, this was a standout for me.

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Of course, the Eggs Benedict here are not just Eggs Benedict either.    They can be delivered as “Eggs Mercer” – with lemon and rosemary cured salmon, and a dollop of caviar – for only a few pence more than than the standard Eggs Benedict.  I can only assume that there’s enough caviar hanging around ready for the lunch and dinner top-rollers to mean that that they can lure a few people into going for the eggs without making a significant dint on their supplies.  Whatever the reason, it’s an excellent opportunity to indulge some of your more expensive tastes without breaking the bank.

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Last but not least, the mighty full English breakfast is delivered with panache – and also with a cereal bowl sized portion of beans, but on this occasion I’m willing to overlook the offence because everything else is just so ridiculously good.  I’m not convinced by the introduction of green matter to the Full English round-up either, but I’m giving the benefit of the doubt that it’s there more for aesthetic effect than for any more dubious purpose.  The notion of “health” considerations surreptitiously making their way into the composition of the Full English is a truly mortifying thought, and brings back painful memories of the vile egg-white omelette that I unwittingly ordered in a poncy Washington hotel earlier this year.

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So there we have it – on all counts, The Mercer is a force to be reckoned with on the breakfast scene and I would certainly not be sad to sit down there again one morning, though I would point out that it is somewhat unbecoming to hide one’s sausage under a tomato.  Otherwise, no complaints!