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Also called a fry-up, this mighty British breakfast—once known as high-calorie fuel for the 19th-century working class; now known as popular weekend hangover fare—typically puts fried eggs, bacon (usually back bacon), sausage, pan-fried tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans, and toast, which is sometimes fried bread, all on the same plate. Black pudding, a blood sausage made with pig blood, pork fat, and oatmeal, and the leftover fried cabbage-potato mix known as bubble and squeak are also often included, and tea is the beverage of choice.
You’ll notice the word “fried” comes up a lot—sometimes you’ll see poached eggs or grilled tomatoes, but generally speaking, you’re in for a grease sesh. And while you won’t always find all of these components in a “full monty,” you certainly might. You’d better be hungry.
Where: Our rather civilized fry-up came from Soho’s civilized Dean Street Townhouse (69-71 Dean St., map), a popular restaurant, hotel, and celebrity haunt where a cushy-chaired lounge room abuts a handsome wooden-floored bar. We love the restaurant's focus on seasonal British foods.
When: Mon-Thurs, 7am-midnight; Fri, 7am-1am; Sat, 8am-1am; Sun, 8am-midnight (breakfast daily till 11:30am)
Order: The full English breakfast (£14; half-orders available for £9; vegetarian offered as well) includes two hen eggs any style—we’re suckers for sunny-side up—two pork breakfast sausages, a pile of both streaky and back bacon, grilled tomato, grilled mushroom (hidden under an egg in our photo), a round of black pudding, baked beans (not pictured) and brown bread toast. Ketchup and brown HP sauce are available on the side, naturally. The crumbly, earthy black pudding was our favorite part, but everything tasted super fresh. Choose from a good selection of teas and coffee/espresso drinks to round out your breakfast. Also great here: grilled kippers. Plan on a long walk afterward!
Alternatively: So many choices, so little time. There's a lovely-looking full English breakfast at the Rivington Greenwich (178 Greenwich High Rd., map), which focuses on seasonal, locally sourced British cuisine, or, in the middle of Borough Market, you might try the hearty “full borough” at Roast (The Floral Hall, Stoney St., map), which similarly incorporates high-quality ingredients and includes just about everything: black pudding, bubble and squeak, fried bread and all. For (almost) all-day breakfast/brunch, hit up The Breakfast Club (multiple locations including 31 Camden Passage in Angel, map); serving most breakfast dishes from 9am-5pm, the retro diner mini-chain offers a good full and half monty, and a vegan version too.
We also liked the lighter vegetarian take at Bill’s Cafe (28 St. Martin’s Courtyard, map) in Covent Garden, with poached eggs, tomato, mushroom, hummus, guacamole, sweet chili sauce, and optional baked beans and/or bubble and squeak (a non-veg version is also offered).
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