I have said it before, but I do love going out for breakfast.
Sometimes it just has to be a full English, although you have to find the right place as this can range from the pile-it-high greasy spoon, to the gourmet with more plate than food. A good Full English should never be too fancy; it needs good sausages and real bacon, ripe tomatoes are worth paying a premium for but are not essential, black pudding is a choice and one I will always add for that delicious crispy outer and soft inside. Toast, baked beans, mushrooms are all standard items and if the chef can mess them up, then there’s no hope for the rest of the breakfast. My choice of egg is to have none, but I do like a portion of hash browns or bubble and squeak.
Full English breakfasts that add exotic ingredients or try to be too “cheffy” should be avoided at all costs. Tea or coffee should be in mugs, this is not a meal to be served with lattes or cappuccinos.
Probably my favourite place for a Full English is the Goods Shed at Canterbury, although at the time of writing they are not serving breakfast. Their freshly squeezed juices, mugs of coffee and fresh ingredients from the butcher and the veg stall mean everything is top quality. Madame Fifi’s in Maidstone also offers a magnificent Full Irish, which is a meal to leave you full for the whole day.
For the warmer months of the year, one of my favourite places is Teapot Island, which allows you to have an outdoor breakfast next to the river Medway. The food is unpretentious and good, and we take our time sitting outside in the last of the summer sunshine with the cyclists and dog walkers, who make sure they include a stop here on their routes.
There is a small inside area which is full of the teapots which give the cafe its name; it’s fascinating but the menu is what really interests me. As well as a good breakfast, (I have yet to test their pancakes), they offer lunch and to my great delight, high tea which I have never seen on a menu before but makes me think of children’s books from the earlier part of the twentieth century and knickerbocker glory, a glorious reminder of a treat from my own childhood. Next summer, I am coming back for icecream.