The full English breakfast dates back to the early 1300’s. It began with the gentry (well-born, well-bred people) and evolved with the Victorians who then standardised the ingredients to create a national dish that is hugely popular today and enjoyed all over the world.
A typical full English breakfast would consist of bacon, fried, poached or scrambled eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausages, and baked beans. There may also be a few more ingredients here and there, depending on the region and whether you are in the South or North. There’s also always debate as to whether tomato sauce or brown sauce should be used. And traditionally tea is drank with breakfast, not coffee.
I used to live in London so know too well about the full English breakfast. I have to say though (and please don’t kill me), but I never really got into the whole baked beans mess. Living in London was during my pre-kids days so I also know too well about the full English breakfast after a late night out drinking. All that grease, to cure a hangover! You really feel like you get a blood clot as you’re eating. But oh how I love me some proper English breakfast once in a while!
This time in London, we only did a proper English breakfast once, since with all 4 kids it’s just easier to have breakfast at home. But every time I come to London, I wish I could just sneak off on my own and go have breakfast at The Wolseley! How I just love that place. I remember taking my sister there once when she visited from South Africa. We were like 2 little girls all excited to go for this posh English breakfast. We were seated at a 2-seater and then quickly saw that right next to us was seated Jeremy Irons, with someone who appeared to be interviewing him. We got so excited we could barely talk during our breakfast (the tables are laid very close together), then at one moment, as my sister tried to eat elegantly, she somehow managed to flick some egg over at him….. Horror! Luckily he didn’t notice and carried on with his interview…
The Wolseley is my definition of a perfect breakfast in England. If you’re feeling REALLY extravagant, you can go for the omelette with caviar! Heaven!
In any case, as we were with the 4 kids this time (and I wasn’t going to risk any of them flicking eggs on anyone), I searched for a place we could go more casually, and with more space so that the kids felt relaxed too. I found the perfect place. The Quince Tree in Little Venice (Maida Vale). The coffee shop is set within a nursery - London’s oldest garden centre, selling beautiful flowers and plants. It is so relaxing and beautiful there, and they serve an excellent breakfast. It is a true hidden treasure! We even ended up buying some pot plants from their beautiful nursery…
Otherwise the full English breakfast is so popular that you can walk into any corner cafe and order one and be sure to be fully satisfied!
60 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 6996
The Quince Tree
Clifton Nurseries, 5a, Clifton Villas
London W9 2PH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7432 1867