Paternoster Chop House, The City
1 Warwick Court
020 7029 9400
by Anne O'Raisin
Now I like a place with an idiosyncratic breakfast menu: and surprisingly for a place nestling in the shadow of St Paul’s, the Paternoster Chop House has a decidedly eclectic mix. Alongside the usual egg dishes, there are home-made crumpets with fresh honeycomb. A pile of toast comes with 'foraged jam'. I asked what fruit they had managed to gather by hand at this rather desolate time of year: it turned out to be crab apples. There was also some presumably un-foraged orange marmalade.
I'm a strictly sweet-food-for-breakfast kind of girl, so while my friend merrily ordered poached eggs, bacon and hash browns, I dithered over the "lighter fare". Fruit salad didn't sound nearly exciting enough. Poached berries and yoghurt was a tad healthy. Perhaps a signature crumpet?
Somehow the restaurant staff seemed to know what I really wanted without me asking - and without it even featuring on the menu. Now that's what I call service.
Unprompted, I was brought a tower of mini pancakes – a cross between drop scones and American silver dollars – studded with dried fruit and drizzled with poached berries in a vanilla syrup. It was delicious, although I asked for a splodge of Greek yoghurt on the side, just to be really reckless. If there had been an extra jug of syrup I wouldn’t have turned it away.
My friend's eggs came in a deep dish, the potatoes more of a hash than a hash brown and mixed with what looked like cabbage and possibly foraged herbs. There were two shards of properly crispy bacon on top, which made her happy.
Even the coffee was good - I tried regular and decaff, just to make sure.
As for the secret pancakes, I've been reliably informed that they'll be on the menu shortly so you won't have to rely on mind-reading staff to get hold of them.