This blog post was updated on September 12, 2014.

What Makes a Good English Breakfast? Flickr: interno2

Do You Have Yours with Beans?


London may not be famous as a foodie destination, but there’s one meal the city prepares perfectly: breakfast. Sans beans, for me at least, there’s nothing more incredible than a full English breakfast. And even with London’s hefty prices, you can still do it for a song. So, book your cheap tickets to London, fly overnight to Heathrow and make your first stop Bush & Fields.
Located just a block away from the British Museum, it’s easy to miss this greasy spoon. In fairness, you could pick a similar joint a block closer to the Radisson Edwardian Kenilworth, where I just stayed last month, and get a comparable meal. The full English breakfast seems to be universally fantastic in London.
What makes this meal a minor obsession for me when I step off Heathrow Express at Paddington Station? What is it that gnaws at me, fueling my impatience while I take the Circle Line out to the office? Check out the list below:
1. The bacon: Forget everything you know about bacon. Now. English bacon is saltier, meatier and generally more exciting than what we tend to have with breakfast. Think of it as the bizarre love child of bacon, Canadian bacon, ham and prosciutto. It’s hard to wrap your mind around that, I know, but stretch for me. You need to eat this bacon with a knife and fork. It’s fantastic.
2. The sausage: This is plump and thick – not narrow links or (perish the thought) patties. I find the flavor to be a bit thin, but it’s still an enjoyable dining experience. What’s most important is that you get both bacon and sausage, preventing a decision that I’ve always found nearly impossible to make.
3. The eggs: Pierce the yolk, and let it run. Mop it up a bit with your bacon and sausage rather than the toast. Ponder the decadence for a moment – using meat to sop up egg! It’s like blowing your nose with a $20 bill … it means you can do anything.
4. The toast: It’s filler. Treat it that way. Interestingly, Bush & Fields brings it before the rest of your meal is ready, which is the only chance toast has of being eaten when everything else is so much more exciting.
5. The tomato: I may have saved the best for last here, but that’s not how I’d approach the plate! You should eat the perfectly grilled tomato that’s served with your breakfast pretty early on. Otherwise it will get cold and lose some of its texture. You want your tomato warm!
The beans really are part of the tradition, but I just can’t eat them. Not at breakfast or any other meal. If you can do it, enjoy – it’s not my thing. The coffee … well, you’ll have to grin and bear it. A good cup of joe isn’t London’s strong suit, but you’ll be able to muddle through and get a sufficient caffeine fix.
Even with the weakness on coffee and beans, the full English breakfast is an incredible meal. This only makes the fact that I can’t get an exact replica at home so painful. In the days before each trip I take to London, it’s all I can talk about. Now, on a flight home from London as I write this (and yes, I booked both my flight and my hotel on CheapOair), it’s still all I can talk about.
Go to London. Now. And when you get there, make breakfast your top priority.
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photo: interno2

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