The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Friday, August 21, 2015

Let's call it a morning

Ten years ago today, I launched this blog. Today I'm closing it. Well, not closing it so much as letting it be. The 522 reviews (and op-eggs) it contains, written by 106 contributors, will still be available to read, but this will be the last new post.

By way of goodbye, here's a 'best of' list of sorts. Not of the best places to eat breakfast, but a very small sample of personal favourites from the countless surprising, funny and strangely touching pieces that have showed up over the years.

Although I hope it has sometimes proved useful, this site has only ever been roughly fifty percent about breakfast. The rest has been about seeing what we could get away with. This annoyed some casual readers. 'Your spry and flippant musings are irritating, and irrelevant,' one complained. Spry, flippant, irritating – fine, maybe – but irrelevant? Impossible. The point has been that nothing is irrelevant when it comes to breakfast.

So here's the list. It was difficult to compile, and I compiled it too quickly. And if this website still attracted comments other than from users with names like 'Car Service Gatwick', I'd ask: 'what were your favourites?':

Cereal Killer Cafe, Shoreditch by Haulin' Oats

Cora's, Montreal by Poppy Tartt

Daiwa Sushi, Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo by Hashley Brown

The Dervish, Stoke Newington by H.P. Seuss

First Great Western Railways, Swansea to London by Moose Lee

Frank's Cafe, Southwark by Evelyn Waughffle

Maison Bertaux, Soho by Gracie Spoon

Paper Moon Diner, Baltimore by Joyce Carol Oats

Republican Party Pancake Breakfast, Brunswick, Ohio by T.N. Toost

Yummy's Cafe, Spitalfields by Blake Pudding

Workers Cafe, Archway by Fi Tatta

You know what – just look at the full list. They're all great. Click one at random. Do it. Now.

Malcolm Eggs

[Eggsit, pursued by a bear]

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Aung Myint Thu Teashop, Kayah State, Myanmar

Aung Myint Thu Teashop
Main road, near Taung Kwe Pagoda
Loikaw, Kayah state

by Daw Aung San Mue Sli 

Standard hotel breakfast fare in Myanmar is a disgrace: cardboard white bread, plastic margarine from Singapore, once-fried now-cold eggs, and a fried rice and a fried noodle option if you’re lucky. Watermelon slices, whether or not they are in season, despite the fact that down the road is a market overflowing with the sweetest, tangiest, freshest pineapples, mangoes, papayas, etc. Weak Lipton tea, usually in a pot used interchangeably for serving weak and bitter coffee, and tasting like a sad mix of the two. Milk powder.
This dismal state of affairs provides the best excuse for an early morning hunt for a teashop.
I left the hotel in Loikaw, skipped the Shan noodle option opposite the hotel, and wandered down the hill toward the pagoda. (Kayah state is mostly Christian and animist, but true to form the Burmese have plonked a bunch of stupas on the limestock rock that sticks out over Loikaw, as they do with most sites of natural beauty in Myanmar.)
A little teashop nestled in a small row of small shops caught my eye. I approached. They stared. Ah – you have itchagwe (a fried dough stick – when fresh from the fryer, better than any doughnut). They smiled. But it was cold. Do you have any hot itchagwe? No. An awkward pause. But would you like Nepali roti? And how would you like your tea?
They ushered me inside. I sat down at one of the four tables, facing the small TV. It was showing Death at a Funeral (not recommended), with the cleavages smudged.
The tea was brought first. The teamaster presented it and, grinning, pointed out that it was made with fresh milk, and he had given me extra ‘mi laing’. It was true. There was extra boiled milk skin in there, and a few shiny fat globules too. Heavenly.
His wife made the roti. It came with a tiny bowl of Nepali curry and a tiny bowl of tomatoey spice. Chillies had been chopped and pounded into the roti mix, and perhaps there was some potato in there too.
They told me that an Indian who worked for Telenor had come here every breakfast during his stay in Loikaw and eaten three rotis. I managed two. They were of Nepali gurkha origin; she moved down from Kalaw in Shan state (which has a larger Gurkha population) to marry him twenty years ago. They had opened the teashop in March or April; before that they lived in a village outside Loikaw and farmed. The name of the teashop ‘means the successful one’.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Pasticcio, South Hampstead

16 Northways
South Hampstead
020 7586 0333

by John le Café

I have elaborated previously on my trials, tribulations and near tragedies when it comes to finding a good breakfast spot in and around West Hampstead. Well, fear not regular readers, just before I moved house and started my search anew I finally found somewhere in the vicinity of Finchley Road. It was only a ten-minute walk away and as all serious weekend breakfast eaters will know, any further than this is simply unacceptable.

Not too café and not too caff; seemingly an Italian café but serving a full English: like Goldilocks before me, I had finally found one which was just right. A few people were eating pasta and one even seemed to be having tiramisu but most of my fellow patrons on this early Saturday lunchtime were, like me, indulging in a fry-up.

The staff were friendly and the menu was long, featuring both pasta and fried breakfast variations. I briefly considered copying the man in the corner with the seafood pasta, and though this passed quickly I made a mental note to one day try something new, even if just a bolognese. I doubt this will ever happen but it is nice to daydream.

The fry-up I opted for was £4.50 with tea, or more for coffee, and came with bacon, beans and short, fat and succulent sausages. They were the Danny DeVito of the sausage world, if, in fact, he is succulent, which I rather suspect he is. All the other usual suspects were there: too many mushrooms, a superfluous tomato and a lack of toast (only one slice cut in triangles). Subsequent visits, which I happily squeezed in before leaving the area, have shown that replacing the tomato with extra toast is one of the best decisions of any weekend.

The coffee was excellent. I even pushed the boat out and ordered an orange juice, freshly squeezed by a huge machine which looked like it could pulverise more than just citrus fruit. One sip of the sweet but also slightly sour liquid and I was transported back to my childhood, to family holidays in Italy, to swimming in the Mediterranean, to frolicking in the hills and tasting real oranges for the first time. It’s strange, as we never went to Italy or the Med. We sometimes went to the beach in Hastings but even now I can picture my idyllic childhood spent gallivanting around Italy in a VW camper van stopping in every orange grove to buy from old Italian farmers with a twinkle remaining in their eyes from their mischievous youth. The orange juice really was rather good.

I thought my only complaint was going to be that Magic FM was on. The inane babble of Rick Astley and sugary pop had accompanied my breakfast but as I started to mop up the last of the beans with my toast, ‘Tracks of My Tears’  by the fabulous Smokey Robinson came on and my mind was made up. Not too cafe, not too caff. Just right. This one was a keeper, well until I moved more than ten minutes away.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Salon, Brixton

18 Market Row
020 7501 9152

by Charlotte Brontëa

Do you remember breakfast before Instagram? How the porridge steamed, the bacon sizzled, and the tomatoes sputtered from the grill?

And how when you took a first mouthful, the porridge still steamed, the bacon still sizzled and the tomatoes still sputtered?

Post-Instagram, breakfast is never warm. It may arrive steaming, sizzling and sputtering, but then iPhones are raised, pictures are taken and re-taken, filters applied, captions written, and, finally, uploaded. Cold porridge follows.

Little wonder that avocado on toast has attracted such cultish devotion. It’s the only dish on a breakfast menu that doesn’t suffer for being eaten cold.

It is a blessing then that at Salon, a restaurant, delicatessen and charcuterie in Brixton market, they do the Instagramming for you.

Wake up on a Sunday morning and photographs of that day’s #brunchspesh have already been uploaded from the kitchen: grilled Old Spot pork loin, fried egg, runner beans, chilli, garlic and ginger one weekend; lamb shoulder, asparagus hash, wild garlic and a fried egg the next. The ingredients are artfully arranged, the lime wedge tilted just so.

If your tastes are more conventional there is ‘super seed’ porridge with almond milk (Instagram loves a nut milk); soft-boiled eggs and anchovy on sourdough toast; and smoked salmon with a buttermilk scone.

They will do you a Bloody Mary (bloody good) or an avocado, kale, kiwi, banana and almond milk smoothie. On Instagram this is tagged: #avos, #greenstuff, #kalekaleandmorekale.

The (obligatory) smashed avocado on toast, smoked pig’s cheeks lardons and poached duck egg is better even than the photos promise. The warm banana bread with hazelnut ganache is not just warm, but piping, fingertip-burning hot from the oven.

As you contemplate a second slice, a deliveryman arrives from Kent with vegetables for that night’s dinner. The chef leaves his kitchen and comes front of house to crunch through radishes, pare asparagus spears and pop beans from their pods before signing the invoice. Such earthy care for produce and provenance is admirably, reassuringly old-fashioned – and not readily captured on Instagram.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Smakolyk, Lviv, Ukraine


5 Mykhalchuka St,
Ukraine, 79000
+38 032 245 2284

by Tartine Amis AKA ‘The Ukrainian Sex Bot

As the onetime easternmost outpost of the Habsburg crown lands, Lviv is justly celebrated for its café culture. Attending the 2015 Lviv Media Forum for four days provided me with the perfect opportunity to indulge in the town’s tradition of Austro-Hungarian inspired culinary decadence. I had also been warned before coming – correctly it turns out – that Lviv had been transformed since my previous visit five years ago. The stitching together of ever-tightening links to Poland and the European Union, as well as investments in infrastructure made ahead of the Euro 2012 football tournament, have markedly transformed the city centre. Despite the war raging on the other side of the country, this provincial and relaxed town remains by most measures the most ‘European’ in Ukraine. Yet, much here remains as it always has.

The various multi-confessional churches of this most pious of towns are all still full to the brim with fervent pilgrims. In the midst of war the city is even more staunchly patriotic than usual: there are off duty soldiers in uniform everywhere, and every third person is wearing a Vishivanka or a Ukrainian flag pin. Pro-Ukrainian political parties and volunteer battalions raise funds and distribute their literature on most street corners. Next to the central prospect’s statue of Taras Schevchenko, children boxed with a stuffed dummy of Vladimir Putin to the gleeful roaring of the adult crowd. Yet, the amount of Russian that one hears spoken in the street is a testament to both general increases in tourism and the large numbers of Russophone refugees transposed here from the East and Russian occupied Crimea. Leaving my hotel outside of the main Greco-Catholic church on the way to breakfast, I came across a military brass band performing final rites for a soldier recently killed in fighting outside of Lughansk.

There are also the ever present groups of Polish day trippers. Polish license plates are everywhere. By my rough calculations about a third of the people sitting in the opera house when I attended ‘Moses’ by the composer Myroslav Skoryk, were speaking Polish. The opera, based on national poet Ivan Franko’s long poem, appropriates the narrative of the Israelites’ forty years of wandering in the desert to symbolize Ukrainians’ aspirations for freedom from Russian subjugation. For his part, the Russian-Israelite oppressor who serves as your correspondent had spent at least forty days wandering in search of a proper strudel. That strudel, as well as myriad other tasty morsels could be had in the Smakolyk café, located on a picturesque corner of Mykhalchuka and Nalyvaika Streets. Smakolyk is Lviv’s best effort at a modern health-oriented style café. The café is situated in a light, glassy and modern aperture, a quick two minute jaunt from the opera house. Its spare, Swedish décor could belong to a café in any European capital. It is alcohol-free, vegetarian-friendly, and its advertising promises fresh organic ingredients brought lovingly from neighbouring Carpathian villages. The calorie counts are marked on the menus – an exceedingly progressive (if not almost a futurist) practice by post-Soviet standards

My omelette with generic Ukrainian cheese sprinkled with parsley and brown bread was well seasoned but otherwise forgettable. This was followed by a simple Bulgarian inspired ‘Shopski’ salad of freshly diced cucumbers and tomatoes in olive oil topped with salty goat milk Brinza cheese (close in flavour and texture to gorgonzola). It was inspired by Galicain peasant food, but was nonetheless excellent. 

My companion had the fresh yoghurt and strawberry jam spread (jars of jam and preserves are also sold on the premises). The onsite bakery is oatmeal cookie and cake oriented, but the most‘Ukrainian’ things on offer are the miniature apple ‘xustinkas’ – tiny apple-filled pastries named after knotted Ukrainian head scarves. The Polish poppy seed and fig makivnyk pastry is considered a speciality, and crumbles perfectly in one’s mouth.  

The strudel of honey glazed walnut was crispy and tart, dappled with heavy cream. It is possibly worth invading Ukraine to get one. 

In short, the café is an excellent modern adaptation of Western Ukraine’s distinctive culinary mélange of German, Polish, Jewish, and Slavic cuisines; an intriguing modernist update of the numerous Strudel Hauses where one can drink Viennese coffee while reading favorite son Leopold Sacher-Masoch. Also, unlike many other parts of Ukraine (and the Soviet lands to Kiev’s east) where the Soviet mentality is more deeply ensconced, Lviv does not have a culture of waiters being aggressively snide and insulting while taking one’s order. Whether one appreciates this very un-Soviet politese is much like one’s choice between spinach-stuffed strudel or the traditional apple variant: a matter of taste.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Holiday Inn Express, Shoreditch

Holiday Inn Express
275 Old Street
London EC1V 9LN
020 7300 4300

by Joyce Carol Oats

As Joyce Carol Oats awoke one morning from uneasy dreams she found herself ensconced in her bed in the Holiday Inn Express.  She was lying on her back, as it were, and when she lifted her head a little with some difficulty she could see that she was not just hungover, but that the duvet could hardly keep in position because the hotel bed was tipped towards the wall, so as to have the effect of elevating her legs above her head. Joyce felt a little helpless, but then realized that with only slightly more effort than usual she could sit erect there.

‘What happened to me,’ she thought. It was no dream. Joyce’s room, a proper room for a human being, only in the Holiday Inn Express, lay quietly between four walls, one of which had a television bolted to it. On another wall, on which there was a faint grey stain, hung a picture of blue and black swoops of paint of the kind that is only produced for chain hotel rooms.

Joyce’s glance then turned to the window. The dreary weather (the rain drops were falling audibly on the puddles of hipster puke on the sidewalk) made her quite melancholy. ‘Why don’t I keep sleeping for a little while longer and forget all this foolishness,’ Joyce thought. But this was entirely impractical, for Joyce was used to eating breakfast.

Joyce went downstairs. Here, a sea of human bodies queued for a lukewarm buffet. Joyce regarded the humans. Next to the queue stood a sign. ‘Peak breakfast times’ the sign read, and then accorded a traffic light colour to each of three times. ‘Please try to avoid this peak time’ the sign said, in reference to the peakest time. ‘O God,’ Joyce thought, ‘what kind of a hotel actually tells its guests to actively avoid the breakfast service? To hell with it all!’

Ignoring the man who was giving direction to the people in the line waiting to enter the buffet, Joyce skipped ahead and investigated what was on offer. Some vats of eggs and bacon. Grapefruit in syrup. Orange and apples. Cold cereals, milk. Yoghurts with artificial sweetener and yogurts without. All looked unappetizing.

Joyce decided to make some toast. She stood next to the toaster. Above it hung a large sign. ‘Please DO NOT put croissants in the toaster!’ the sign read. Joyce put some bread in the toaster. ‘I wonder,’ thought Joyce, ‘what happened in the toaster that created this imperative for this sign.’ While Joyce thought about the sign, her bread finished toasting. A small Swedish child helped himself to Joyce’s toast. Joyce felt an urge to cry. She made herself another piece of toast instead, and topped it with jam and cheese. Joyce sat at the hotel bar and ate her toast. Joyce regretted her encounter with the breakfast.  Joyce wished she had never left her earlier position to come to the breakfast. ‘This getting up early,’ she thought, ‘Makes a woman quite idiotic.’

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hledan Market, Yangon, Myanmar

Hledan Market
Hledan Road

by Daw Aung San Mue Sli

Hledan Market. A squat concrete Myanmar-modernism shell of a government building, coloured in peeling light-blue paint and crammed with smallholder stalls, the small and medium enterprises of development practitioners’ dreams. This is the Socialist-era Myanmar, where the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) controls market access and items are weighed using antiquated balances and viss weights.

The stalls spill out onto the neighbouring side alleys. Opposite the market, promising good times ahead, there is a Sein Gay Har shopping centre. This caters for the moderately well heeled, with a Moon Bakery on the first floor which sells plastic cakes and plastic pizza and has to be reached by navigating the jumbled racks of the women’s clothing section. This is the new Myanmar circa 2000, pre the banking boom and bust and after eight years of an open economy. 

And on the corner of Hledan junction itself, nestling under the new overpass of one of the worst junctions to try and pass through in a motor vehicle, where you can be stuck at the lights a good half hour, the Hledan Centre, a new shiny mega building that houses the offices of the European Union and is owned by a top crony named inter alia Tun Myint Naing and Steven Law (see Wikileaks for the full list of his names). 

Thus are represented three stages of Myanmar’s promised development. For the best breakfast, I vote the Socialist era. Down one of the side alleys that skirts the market, next to the stall selling sticky rice and sweets and opposite the yoghurt seller with his sweaty pots of yoghurt and slumped plastic bags of unpasteurised milk, two ladies cook and sell fresh sweet bein mohn, ‘wheel snack’, thus named because it is the shape of a wheel. It has a texture halfway between a pancake and a crumpet, is made (I think) with rice flour and a dash of liquid jaggery, is topped with shavings of coconut and peanut, and leaves a slight shine of oil on your fingers. 

The YCDC wants to move all the streetside snack sellers into designated multi-storey market buildings. They are unfairly copping the blame for the sudden (last two years') traffic. An explosion in the number of cars, a lack of viable public transport options, and a city-wide ban on bicycles and motorbikes are probably greater culprits. The proposed move represents a serious threat to breakfast in Hledan.

One of the ladies sliced up my bein mohn with scissors, into a plastic bag, and then I took it into the cool semi-darkness of the market building, and ate the chunks of mohn sitting on a plastic stool at the teastall, with a cup of strong thick sweet ‘po cha’ tea. 

Often when I go out for a teashop or street breakfast, one of my fellow breakfast eaters will pay for my meal. I was seated at this same teastall in Hledan once when a chatty lady explained to me that it was part of the Buddhist way of gaining merit, and I felt momentarily a bit used, but actually what better way of dispensing merit than eating breakfast and being treated to it. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Out in the wild, directly below Red Notice
Initially published in bacon-pattern hardback, The Breakfast Bible is, from today, available in boiled-egg-portraying paperback.

To briefly recap, The Breakfast Bible takes a similarly serious approach to breakfast to The London Review of Breakfasts except, rather than the places that serve the foremost meal, it tackles overall principles and practice. By which I mean, it's a recipe book. Specifically, it's a one-stop source for all of the classic breakfast foods. How best to fry an egg? That's there. Need to make a bagel? With The Breakfast Bible, you will. Desperately seeking a recipe for granola? Cornbread? Channa Masala? Pastéis de nata? You got it.

And there are extras: good pop and rock songs to boil an egg to, breakfast-based astrology, an essay about class at the British breakfast table, and one about a hitherto under-examined dream of Freud's.

It's by me, with many contributions from others, the core cabal being Emily Berry, Richard Godwin, Henry Jeffreys and Peter Meanwell. It's published by Bloomsbury. You can buy it in bookshops. You can buy it online. Perhaps you have bought it already. You can buy it again.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Aqua Shard, Southwark

Aqua Shard
Level 31
The Shard
31 St. Thomas Street
020 3011 1256

by Truman Compote

As a long-time follower of the joyously acerbic writing of Ian Martin, his comments on the Shard meant that I arrived for breakfast at the building bearing some prejudice against it: “The architectural press made a great fuss about how sterile and disconnected it is at ground level. My God, have you seen it inside? Seriously. It felt like being in some giant static advert for Everest double glazing.”

It’s become a cliché to take the Shard as a symbol for a lot of what has gone wrong in London in the past decade or so: the loss of social and affordable housing; corrupt or misguided local governance; the replacement of the public sphere by the private.

Indeed, I haven’t even finished locking my bike to the lamppost outside the many revolving doors before I am told by two men in hi-vis jackets that they aren’t at all keen on having me clutter up their pavement (despite my willingness to pay my way inside the building they guard). I politely remonstrate with them, at least asking them (as well as their more senior, suit-clad colleague) to acknowledge the small disgrace of shiny, showy London buildings attempting to claim nearby pavements as private property.

Indoors and onwards, past the brigade of black-clad, clipboard-bearing, bag-X-raying staff, then up, up in the dedicated automatic lift to the 31st floor.

Even the name of the restaurant – Aqua Shard could be a Mayfair spa for the wives of oligarchs – betrays much about the feel of the place. This is a room hermetically sealed (by vertiginous necessity), designed in an anonymously corporate and masculine style. I can imagine it finding particular favour with Formula 1 drivers, rootless tax exiles and the senior executives of FTSE 100 companies – anyone, really, likely to be on nodding terms with the style from their travels in Monaco, Dubai, Hong Kong and the like.

There’s instrumental music lasciviously wafting out of invisible speakers, Balearic lounge stuff, and it’s perhaps just a bit too Playboy Mansion for the breakfast hour.

A waiter arrives with two glass jugs, one containing orange juice, the other pink grapefruit – I choose the latter. I like that it tastes recently squeezed is only slightly, rather than overly, chilled. Good coffee follows.

Between three of us we order the full English, containing a completist two eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, ham hock cannellini beans, hash brown, tomato, black pudding AND sourdough toast; the smoked salmon scrambled egg; and the lobster eggs Benedict. Everything is absolutely present and correct: the bacon has been cooked expertly; all eggs are perfectly poached or fried; and the corn pancake, filled with creme fraiche, which accompanies the smoked salmon dish, has a nourishing, filling heft. Perhaps the English muffin could have been shown the toaster for thirty seconds longer, but that would be nitpicking.

Now, of course, the pricing doesn’t bear even the remotest resemblance to a thoroughgoing English caff, with the full English, for instance, coming in at £17.50. But you don’t ensconce yourself hundreds of feet above the streets and the river two days before Christmas to scan the menu with a cost-saving eye: you are here to have a singular and distinctive treat.

We are sated. The dishes are removed. We ask for the drinks menu, before each choosing a breakfast cocktail. And there we sit, for an hour more, absorbing the play of the waxing and waning patches of sunlight, each half a mile wide, on St Paul’s.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach

The Wheatsheaf Inn
West End
GL54 3EZ
+44 (0) 1451 860 244

by Peter Pain Perdu

Here is what I like: being in the country, feeling decadent, falling asleep in front of a fire and waking up with a velvety doggie muzzle against my palm. Here is what I love: all the aforementioned things but with breakfast. And this is why I love weekends at The Wheatsheaf.

The spread includes seasonal fruit — which in December was pears, clementines, and stewed berries, local honey, and yoghurt and cheese from Neal’s Yard. There were also pastries, or if you wanted something healthier, delicious bread so full of seeds any German doctor would approve. All this was mere window dressing though when compared with the majestic ham glistening at the end of the buffet. Last spring, a leg of jamon serrano flirted with all who gazed upon it. This time it was a marmalade-glazed ham perfectly seasoned with cloves.

Though I'm usually very abstemious, even on holiday, there's something about the Wheatsheaf that makes me thirsty. Perhaps it's the cozy open fires. Anyway, as I sat hungover, sipping my coffee, and looking over the menu, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. “I don’t remember the table being quite so wobbly last night.” “That’s because we were absolutely trollied.” At least I wasn't the only one.  Luckily for all of us feeling rough as badgers, there was an apothecary jar full of remedies as well as a selection of various hairs of various dogs. Full bottles of prosecco and orange juice, pitchers of Bloody Mary mix and vodka. Did I mention you could just help yourself? You could and the full bottles didn’t stop at the booze. There were full bottles of ketchup, hot sauce, and HP on every table just like at a greasy spoon. This is so much better than the many restaurants that dole out pokey portions of condiments as if patrons are greedy children not to be  trusted.

As an American, I felt it my duty to order pancakes and bacon. The smoked streaky was nice and crisp and perfectly salted. The pancakes were light and fluffy. They were also very eggy. So eggy, their outsides had a delicate crust like the golden exterior of an omelette.

On day two, I ordered the French toast which was fantastic. The multigrain bread they used had been expertly dipped into a very cinnamony egg mixture, though only on one side. Whether this was intentional or not, I am not sure but it gave my French toast the effect of having a sweet shaggy beard.

I cajoled my companion, Blake Pudding, into ordering the full English. His sausage tasted as if it had been cooked hours ago and sin of all sins—the whites on his fried eggs were under done. As I was reading Edouard de Pomiane, I had to agree.  “Eggs sur le plat need the greatest care, since the white must be completely cooked and the yolk should be hot, while remaining fluid.” This full English left him wishing he'd just ordered the same perfectly poached eggs with ham he'd enjoyed the previous morning.

The dining room itself is a thing to behold. My favorite paintings are a set of four patrician gentlemen, all of whom resemble the monocled Monopoly man.  The juxtaposition of these Jeeves & Wooster extras with German pop artist Sebastian Kruger’s portrait of Kate Moss keep the room from feeling too serious. The décor is one part P.G. Wodehouse, one part rock and roll, and the result is that everyone is comfortable here. Long-legged Sloaney ponies in red trousers talking about summer in Fulham in daddy’s new Jag, San Franciscans in Gore-Tex discussing why Democrats need more young female senators whilst waiting with champagne packed picnics for a guide to lead them on the Cotswold’s Walk, Guardian readers, Telegraph readers, Grazia and Cotswold Life readers, people who don't enjoy reading at all, and last but not least, the long-suffering locals with obedient dogs who love the pub so much they’ll never stop coming.  Thank god, as nothing quiets the roar of the butterfly quite so much as stroking the ears of a silky spaniel.

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