Sunday, 26 January 2014

Bison & Bird – Clapham

I have walked and driven past this place many times and having checked out their website and brunch menu, I thought it would be a good place to go for a Sunday morning fry up. We turned up at about 11am and the bar area was pretty busy – it was Australia day. People supping pints of fosters with kangaroos on their heads wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but we were in Clapham so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Apart from the fact the lights were all on, it felt like a Walkabout at 8pm on a Friday night!

Before I review the breakfast itself, I will take some time to tell you about the service, as unfortunately it wasn’t very good. Firstly, having sat down and looked through the menu and waited a few minutes we thought, it must be an order at the bar kind of place. That is no problem and we went to order, only to be told it was table service and were made to wait another 5 minutes or so before the waitress took our order. We were a party of 5 but after a good 20 minutes of waiting only 4 breakfasts arrived. This is a real pet hate of mine, the order hadn’t gone wrong and the on plate arrived 3-4 minutes later, but it really disrupts the flow of the meal. Another faux pas was clearing away the plates before everyone was finished.

And so onto the food; for £6.95 you get 2 sausages, bacon, 2 fried eggs, beans, grilled tomato and toast served on an unnecessarily giant plate. The main problem was it was served cold! The bacon and toast were stone cold and the beans and sausage were lukewarm at best. The toast came with no butter and despite asking for some, we didn't get any. On the plus side the eggs were OK! The sausages really weren't great, my friend had a big lump of gristle (the size of a 20 pence piece). Whilst the rest of the ingredients used were OK, they certainly aren't going to win any awards.
Whilst the loud party atmosphere can be put down to a “special event”, the fact the fry-up was made up of pretty poor ingredients and was served cold means this was a really disappointing full English.

The Verdict
Go out of your way to avoid. A cold fry-up with poor service and poor ingredients.


Monday, 20 January 2014

The Table - Southwark

Having decided to walk into town along the river, I had built up quite an appetite by the time we arrived at the Table in Southwark.  I was hoping for a big breakfast and I wasn't disappointed.  We turned up at prime brunchtime and the place was packed, we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table.  Well I say a table, I mean a spot on one of the long dining benches (seems like a bit of a strange name for a restaurant, if you only have about four of them in the whole place and long benches to sit on!).  There was a buzzy atmosphere in this small modern diner, with decent music playing in the background and the small open kitchen in one corner adding to the relaxed vibe.

 The Table serve an extensive brunch menu on weekends from 9-4, but the Borough full English breakfast seemed like the most popular.  And that is what I order.  As I mentioned I was hungry and was pleased to see a very generous portion delivered by the waitress.  Two fried eggs served on sourdough toast, two sausages, crispy bacon, ham hock & chorizo baked beans, grilled tomato and a Portobello mushroom.  The sausages were really big, flavoured with leek, which complemented the rest of the plate, rather than overpower it.

So you might think this is the perfect fry-up and will get the perfect score, but unfortunately I do have a couple of gripes. The item on the menu I was looking forward to the most was the ham hock & chorizo baked beans, but it proved to be a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting a real hit of paprika and tomato flavours in the bean sauce, but in reality it was just a bit bland. The other reason this fry-up doesn't get top marks is the price. At £12, the Borough full English is certainly at the top of the fry-up price range and whilst you do get a lot for your money, the menu in general is quite expensive, like my flat white coffee, which was £3.50.

The verdict
A big fry-up with good quality ingredients and the best mushroom I have ever tasted. Loses a point for baked beans that promised a lot but failed to deliver.


Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Candy full English breakfast

The Candy Full English breakfast

A Fry-up with a difference!  As well as an appetite for a traditional English breakfast, I also I also have a really sweet tooth.  So when I opened up my Christmas presents and found this inside I was excited (Thanks Rosie!).

I have only seen this available on on-line, but it makes a fantastic gift for a fry-up enthusiast.  As well as the more obvious inclusions such the old school favourite fried eggs and jelly beans, there are some more unusual sweets on this fry-up, like the chocolate covered banana flavoured soft chews.  You also get fizzy rainbow bacon rashers, fruity mushrooms, marshmallow tomatoes, milk bottles and Chocolate jazzles black pudding.

I think the black pudding was my favourite, whoever has put these together has a great imagination and when on the plate, it looks (pretty much) like the real thing!

The verdict

A brilliant gift for anyone who loves a fry-up!


Tartine - Balham

Tartine - Balham

As we walked into this little cafĂ©, just off the Balham high road, we were hit by a sweet smell of fresh cake and coffee.  With some calming background music playing, this felt like a safe haven from the extremely busy high street!

Tartine is probably a coffee and cake first, breakfast second kinda place, however they do offer their version of the full English.  So for £7.45 you get 2 eggs, turkey bacon, tomato, mushrooms, fried potato and toast.  Not quite a classic selection!

The staff were friendly and the service was good, but the food didn’t really deliver.  I had reservations about turkey bacon, but it wasn’t as bad as I had feared.  The problem with it is it’s too dry but the taste wasn’t that far away the real stuff.  The other problem was the potato, which was undercooked and hard.  The lack of a sausage or beans was a big disappointment too.

The verdict

A nice place for a slice of cake, but the fry-up is a bit below par.