I’m with Rock & Neko and it is the morning after the final night of the World Athletics Championships. We had an exhilarating time at the Olympic Stadium and now we are going to try and find a breakfast worthy of the podium. We are heading to The Black Penny on the edge of Covent Garden.
The fastest way for any breakfast to get off the starting blocks is with a great coffee. We order three flat whites and study the menu. The coffee soon arrives together with a jug of mint-infused water. The menu has something for most people – traditional & vegetarian cooked breakfasts, hashes, breakfast buns, porridge, mueslis and juices. All dishes are freshly cooked to order.
Neko sprints toward The Gatherer – The Black Penny’s breakfast plate for vegetarians: eggs how you like them (Neko asks for poached); sourdough toast; grilled halloumi; sautéed baby spinach; roasted tomatoes; mushrooms; and Black Penny baked beans. Neko has a huge appetite – he really loves the quality of the breakfast but he is slightly disappointed that the quantity makes the eating experience more middle distance than a marathon.
Rock’s appetite will only take her round one lap of the track but she is going for gold. She loves her poached eggs on sourdough toast, served with a side of smoked salmon… which is good because any place that serves her poor poached eggs or poor smoked salmon is definitely for the high jump.
The relay baton has been passed to me and I find myself unable to resist The Hunter. Poached eggs, sourdough toast, grilled sausage, smoked bacon, roast tomatoes, mushrooms and Black Penny baked beans. The beans are quite fiery and, while I love the taste, they do overpower everything else on the plate.
The Black Penny has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere enhanced by modern soul music. Service is very good and the quality of the coffee and food is excellent. Neko may have a slight issue on quantity and I may forego the baked beans next time but, overall, this was definitely a medal winning performance.
It’s the morning of our flight and our normal breakfast stop at Heathrow, Plane Food, is closed for refurbishment. So, we decide to try breakfast with a touch of Japanese influence at Wagamama.
The menu reads like a pleasing confusion of British, Japanese and other international influences and we are fascinated as we watch a variety of plates and bowls being served to other tables. It is also good to see an open kitchen with dishes being freshly cooked to order.
We ask Katarzyna, who is looking after us, a few questions about the menu and then start with juice but… its not going to be a simple OJ. Rock selects Fruit a mix of apple, orange and passionfruit juice. But, after last night’s curry I need a Super Green – a combination of apple, mint, celery and lime. I am quite excited – it is very different to anything I’ve had at breakfast before and it’s very good.
I fall back to tradition next and Wagamama’s version of the English Breakfast – back bacon, sausages, grilled tomato, wilted spinach, sautéed sweet potato, shiitake mushrooms and poached eggs. My sausages are not cooked enough for my taste but they whisk them back to the kitchen and then back to me without any fuss. The dish has many great notes of familiarity but also some magical notes of international flavour.
Meanwhile, Rock is being a little more adventurous and having the bacon roti wrap. A thai flatbread filled with spinach, bacon, a nori omelette and sriracha (hot chilli) ketchup. It is wildy different from a bacon roll and she loves it.
Overall, the service from Katarzyna and others has been excellent and so has the food. This won’t be the last time we land at Wagamama!
Quay Ingredient is a small, independently run coffee house tucked underneath the Tyne Bridge near the picturesque Quayside area of Newcastle. We’ve heard it is one of the best places in Newcastle for breakfast – so we are here to find out if it is.
One of the regional specialities is the Craster kipper and this seems like a good time to have one. My enormous kipper comes with two beautifully poached eggs, each lightly dusted with black pepper and with plenty of toast. Rock goes for another speciality of the North-East, the stottie. Her breakfast stottie is buttered and filled with bacon, to which she adds ketchup. She loves it. We both have an excellent coffee – they use Gama Espresso from Matthew Algie.
The place is packed but the service is friendly and efficient. The food is all high quality and freshly cooked. What a great start to the day!
WadeandRockandFood Awards 2016
Awards part 1 focused on our top restaurants, part 2 focused on our favourite pubs and now part 3 focuses on four small independent food providers that gave us something special during 2016.
Eastward House, Orkney – best breakfast
You choose in advance from a range of three course gourmet breakfasts with each course designed to deliver either vitamins, fibre or protein. It is a breakfast experience like no other! East review
Jolly Nice, Frampton Mansell – best burger & beer
To create the fabulous Jolly Nice burger they use rare breed shorthorn beef and other high quality local produce. It can be enjoyed with any one of a range of bottled craft ales. Jolly review
Eastward House haddock poached in Sancerre with French tarragon
Jolly Nice burger of rare shorthorn beef, Somerset cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, Bertinet soft brioche bun
Toast House apple & almond cake
Severn & Wye’s oven baked monkfish with chorizo, green beans and saute potatoes
Toast House, Ilkley – best coffee & cake
Great place to relax with fabulous coffee. But it is the cake that puts Toast House at the top of the pile! Every cake has been home-made with skill and love. Toast review
Severn & Wye Smokery, Chaxhill – best fish
Suppliers to some of the finest chefs and foodstores in the UK. Their small restaurant has a menu of fresh fish, smoked fish and shellfish which they cook beautifully. A must for fish lovers! Severn review – Jan 16 Severn review – Jul 16
Here’s hoping that 2017 gives us as much food joy as 2016!
The Convent in South Woodchester has an aura. It is a magical venue for music and it has all the quirkiness you might expect from an old religious building. Although the last nuns left in 2011, we are told that many ghosts still linger on here – we certainly felt many cold draughts….even if they were not directly linked to a spiritual presence. We are staying here after a fantastic night watching Turin Brakes perform live.
Breakfast is served in a grand room which is an apparition. Adorned by mirrors, old gramophones, an upright piano, strange statues and tall windows. But there is nothing too mystical about breakfast. A buffet of cereals, juices, fruit, pastries and bread. Coffee or tea is brought to order and we have a choice of cooked breakfasts.
I choose the full English – a vortex of bacon, sausage, poached egg, black pudding, tomato, mushrooms, toast and beans. On a frighteningly chilly December morning, it is all that I hoped it would be, hot, tasty and comforting. Rock orders a small freshly toasted muffin cloaked with smoked salmon and a demon of a poached egg. It is really good.
The Convent is still a work in progress. They have already achieved a great deal and I don’t need to be a psychic to be looking forward to returning here to see what alchemy is created by further improvements.
While in Sintra we are staying at Casa Sao Miguel and we need to talk about breakfast. We have been lucky enough to enjoy some extraordinary breakfasts this year…..here they provide one of the best.
Freshly squeezed orange juice, a good selection of teas and coffees, small but finely flavoured savoury pies and rolls, different local breads, local cheeses, hams, sweet breakfast pastries, a selection of Portuguese honeys, home-made fruit tarts and eggs cooked freshly to order.
This is a great place to sleep and an even better place to wake up!
It is the morning after the long weekend before and the lack of home comforts has left us feeling like wild beasts. I am with Gino, LN, Eskimoh and Frida travelling home from Green Man. It is in our collective nature to nurture a rising need for a breakfast stop. Gino knows a place that is not too far out of our way….Kt’s Coffee & Bistro in Abergavenny. It is a small courtyard cafe with indoor and outdoor seating.
Gino and I both order a full breakfast formation of bacon, egg, sausage, mushrooms, beans, toast and coffee. The bacon and sausage are both quality and everything is freshly cooked to order. It is lush. Eskimoh has a bacon baguette and an Earl Grey tea. Frida is at a stage where she just needs toast.
LN wants a baked potato with a mountain of tuna mayonnaise from the lunch menu but we have arrived well before lunchtime. I love the fact that the ladies of Kt’s recognise that a baked potato is a member of the slow club and has to go in the oven. A potato that goes briefly in the microwave is not the same thing. They are concerned at their inability to provide a proper baked potato at this time of day. LN, gracious as ever, is happy to accept the fast version.
The place is buzzing – I see rivers of people arriving and their babbling tongues show Kt’s is clearly popular with the locals. We can see why.
Postscript: there are at least 12 Green Man 2016 related words in this blog for anyone who is wearing white denim and feels the need to look for them.