The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Clicia, Stoke Newington

97 Stoke Newington Church Street
Stoke Newington
020 7254 1025

by Molly Coddle-Degg

When I taught English in Paris, I once prepared a lesson extolling the joys of the Full English Breakfast. This basically involved handing out photocopies of an A4 sheet on which I’d hastily scribbled the usual fried suspects (the egg, it should be noted, was easy to sketch – but have you ever tried drawing a realistic hash brown?). Strangely, the notion of such delights failed to set my pupils’ stomachs rumbling. Instead, I was faced with a bevy of French children making retching noises and professing that they felt ‘malade’. Petits boéciens! A croissant is all very well and good, but it’s a mere snack. What the belly wants in the morning is grease, and plenty of it.

Clicia, in typical Stoke Newington Church Street style, seemed in danger of being a bit too gastro to be sufficiently greasy, but my co-breakfasteers had fallen for the bejewelled, multi-coloured lantern-filled decor, and I was out-voted. Happily, the fry-up included a hash brown, but I know better than to order mushrooms and beans in N16. Still, this meant that the large rectangular plate here appeared gargantuan and my meal irritatingly meagre; especially as the egg had been neatly fried within the constraints of a small circular mould.

In fact it was the perfect amount of cooked breakfast, and I was left just shy of full, with convenient room to fill up my tummy with Clicia’s magic ingredient – its amazingly fresh, sweet, crusty and hot Turkish bread. It may not be the most suitable substance to soak up egg yolk, or balance (quite juicy) bacon on, but this bread is too good to be corrupted by extra flavours. No, this was pure grease-free bready bliss, of a sort that even gastro-snobby froggies would appreciate.


Anonymous MisterGourmet said...

Hash browns?
No wonder your French pupils were baffled - there's no place for such a thing in an English Breakfast.
I fear Miss / Mlle Coddle-Degg has become confused during her time in France (too much brioche, perhaps) and is thinking, perhaps of an American breakfast.

Call me old-fashioned but to my mind a Full English may (indeed should) contain any or all of the following ingredients: Eggs (Fried, poached, scrambled, but never 'over easy'), Bacon ( but not those streaky strips of tissue paper fried to a tasteless crisp), Sausages (not 'links' or 'paties'), Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Baked Beans (not my taste - too sweet for breakfast - but I must concede to populism here), Black / White Pudding (optional) and Toast (hot and, it goes without saying, toasted on both sides) with Butter (not margarine or any other derivative of vegetable oil).

Any or all of the following - hot cakes, pancakes, silver-dollar pancakes, blueberry pancakes, banana pancakes, muffins (except perhaps 'English' muffins), 'French' toast (unless referred to as 'eggy bread') with or without maple syrup, 'Danish pastry', 'sticky buns', 'biscuits', 'grits', 'links', 'patties', and tasteless strips of thin crispy bacon, 'accessorised with random bits of fruit and unexplained slices of avocado - is almost certainly an American Breakfast, and none the worse for that, so long as you have a sweet tooth first thing in the morning.

Then there's huevos rancheros and its variations, but that's a whole 'nother Mexican ball game.

4:04 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger mark & howard said...

that bread is great. best thing there. lunch not breakfast though.

4:45 PM, October 22, 2007  

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