OK, so it’s obviously been a while since I posted. It’s not that I haven’t been eating any interesting foods, but I just haven’t felt much like talking about them. However, that all changed when me and the GF (now fiancee!) vacationed in London a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the food there, but I knew I wanted to try some of the classics (fish and chips, meat pies, British pub ales, etc.) And there was one classic in particular that I wanted to try more than any other: the traditional English breakfast.
In case you aren’t familiar with what the full (or “proper”) English breakfast consists of, let’s just say that it’s not like what you’ll find at the local Waffle House. Never had baked beans for breakfast? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll find in England. In addition, you’ll also get a fried (or poached) egg, some sort of sausage or bacon, and toast. And I wasn’t going to be happy until I found the elusive, final component: black pudding. Nope, black pudding isn’t dessert, but another name for blood sausage. Yum.
After some interwebs research (and a whole lot of walking), we managed to find the perfect English breakfast at the Regency Cafe near Westminster Abbey. Apparently this place is legendary among the Brits, and as soon as we walked in, I could see why. The interior was classic old-school diner, filled with working-class locals, and the kitchen staff was decked out in chef’s whites (all a good sign). After one glance at the menu, I knew it was gonna be great.
Ordering was a no-brainer: a full breakfast special, a side of black pudding, and black coffee. After ordering, the guy behind the counter said “black pudding and black coffee…good man!” Not gonna lie–that made me feel good.
Anyway, on to the food. Once our orders arrived, I knew this was going to be the English breakfast experience I was looking for. Baked beans, a perfectly-poached egg, bacon, sausage, black pudding, and a side of toast. The beans and egg were pretty much what you’d expect, but the real gems were the meats. The sausage in link form was flavorful and juicy, and the “bacon” wasn’t like American bacon at all. It was more reminiscent of the non-fatty parts of a piece of bacon, and it tasted almost like a combination of bacon and ham. Either way, it was tasty. Oh, and I can’t forget the black pudding. Sliced thin and pan-fried until slightly crispy, it had a milder flavor than I expected, but it’s richness was balanced out by the saltiness. Awesome.
Needless to say, this was not light eating. We were fortunately able to walk most of it off while sightseeing, but part of me wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep it off. If you’re ever in London and want the real English breakfast experience, you probably be hard pressed to find one better than the Regency’s.
If you’ve always heard that British food is bad, you’ve heard wrong. Everything we ate was delicious, and we had some truly amazing meals. Highlights were definitely St. John and the Ginger Pig, and even chains like Wagamama and Masala Zone were exceptional. If you take food seriously, you’d love dining in London.