The Boiled Egg and Soldiers, Clapham
63 Northcote Rd
020 7223 4894
by Dee Caff
There may be no better time to indulge in a Full English than on the first morning of a festival, which is why my festival-bound friend and I donned our baggy waisted eating-apparel and chowed down on some serious sausage. It’s amazing what the thought of living on nothing but rich tea biscuits, beer and cigarettes for three days can do to the appetite.
Our spot of choice was The Boiled Egg and Soldiers, which, cursed though it is with seeming like the backdrop to an irrepressibly smug Richard Curtis film, is still a top breakfast destination for anyone in the SW area. The place exudes the kind of laid-back promise of a good brunch that you might expect from Uncle Monty’s larder. Stripped wooden floorboards, intimate seating and the smell of smoked bacon are a cosy lure, while a blackboard announces that the place is fully licensed, so you can indulge in a little hair-of-the-dog.
If you tire of the joy of watching the yummy mummies wheel past with their Alfies and Jezebels, then the menu makes for excellent reading with its sheer unabashed promises of indulgence. Feasts such as ‘The Works’ beckon with sirloin steak and black pudding, while ‘Old School’ boasts smoked haddock and poached eggs with lemon mayo on toast.
I opted for a good old ‘Traditional’ (£6.95) with eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and a sausage. The prices are fairly steep, but you are paying that couple of extra quid for noticeable quality, which is what you want when you’re about to spend the best part of a week in a drunken stupor, deciding between the nutritional benefits of cheesy chips and pizza.
My breakfast really was everything I hoped it would be – the sausage herby and delicious and the mushrooms oozing with butter – every little thing cooked perfectly, right down to the crispy rinds of the thick, salty bacon. The service was a little on the nonchalant side, but our food came promptly and we left full of beans, just about ready to face the indignity of service station toilets, navigational mishaps and hairy men in small T-shirts.