Archive for March, 2015

March Breakfast

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Breakfasting venue: Hispania

Date of breakfasting: 8am, 24 March 2015

Location: 72-72 Lombard Street, London, EC3V 9AY

Nearest tube: Bank

See you there!

The Fish and Chip Shop Breakfast

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

It’s certainly not going to be the first place you think of when the question of breakfast comes up, but then again The Fish and Chip Shop (TFACS) isn’t quite what you think it is anyway.  Tucked discreetly away in the underbelly of Liverpool Street, it’s quickly apparent why the detailed directions on the website are necessary – Bishopsgate Courtyard is definitely a very missable corner of London if you’re not looking out for it – which, of course, practically nobody is.

Once you’ve located this City equivalent of platform 11 3/4, then about halfway along a rather smart looking bar/restaurant pops into view.  You’ve gathered by this point that you won’t be getting served up a pile of fat, floppy fries slathered in curry sauce.  So what does lie in wait for the breakfaster in this establishment?  I’ll start with two words that should be writ large on the forehead of every breakfast purveyor in town.

Bottomless.  Coffee. 

Sure, I get why your latte, or your flat white or cappucino might need to be separately itemised for each cup you consume.  But when you’re serving up someone’s first meal of the day, then a basic filter coffee should be part and parcel of the deal – and given that it’s integral to both the time of day and the meal you’re serving it should flow as freely and as constantly as the mountain springs.  That’s just my personal view of course – but it’s also plain sense.

So TFACS gets it right here even if they do feel the need to follow the tiresome trend of dishing up the milk in a tiny milk bottle.  On the first encounter, the tiny milk bottle is faintly amusing in a retro-chic kind of way.  Perhaps it is intended to encourage you to imagine that maybe the milk has been delivered by a tiny leprechaun milkman running an independent milk delivery service supplied by his herd of micro-cows – rather than shipped in in bulk from some faceless corporate dairy which pays the farmers in modern day magic beans.    Perhaps I’m overthinking this, but anyway, the point is that by the time you’re in the fifth restaurant that deploys this quaint little serving concept it rather loses the charm.

Moving onto the food, I suppose I really should have sampled one of the fish dishes – the kippers perhaps, or maybe the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.  However the allure of the Full Breakfast was more than I could resist, and I have to say that I found myself in no way disappointed.  Two things in particular require special mention.

1. The bacon.  Oh, the bacon!  Let me say first up that given the choice between bacon and sausage I would in general opt for the sausage any day, but for this bacon I would make an exception.  I don’t think I would exaggerate to say that it is the best bacon I’ve yet had in six years of Breakfast Wednesdays.  Not crispy, but perfectly cooked with just the right degree of chewableness – and ever so slightly caramelised, with the net result being an explosion of flavour and texture that made me wish I had two more slices and one more stomach.

2.  French toast!  This is, to my recollection, a first.  Perhaps they’ve taken advantage of the omission of “English” from the title of the dish to up the “Frenchiness” factor.  In any case, it’s unusual.  Personally, I think I’m probably in favour of the crunchier end of the toast spectrum, but I have to confess that it was a pleasant change to have something a bit different on the plate.

The rest of the offering was simple good quality breakfast fare.  My request to omit the beans was happily accepted and fulfilled, and my suggestion that any surplus mushrooms that might find their way onto my plate in lieu would be gratefully received was evidently catered to. 

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In summary, despite the unlikely title, TFACS definitely offers one of the better breakfasts available in central London – you owe it to yourself to sample their bacon if nothing else.  And I will certainly be heading back to make sure that I try out some of the more pescatarian options – on this showing, it will definitely be worth the while.