We have been told, and I believe, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We need to have fuel to catapult ourselves onto the unsuspecting world. We need to be energised and replete with foods that hopefully someone else has prepared. Breakfast away from home offers many advantages.
Britain was for many years dismissed as a culinary wasteland. A French friend even had the temerity to suggest that the reason we in the UK adopt the foods of other nations so readily is that we have no culinary heritage of our own. I begged to differ in strident fashion and the Gallic guy gets out of plaster on Bastille day. It’s more that we have rather overlooked our fine dishes and have always been overshadowed by our cousins across the Channel, who have had the knack of self-promotion. We should follow their example.
It’s breakfast that seems to catch the imagination of visitors to these shores. They suppose that we Brits eat a fried breakfast every day. Many of us wish we could, but the constraints of time, finances and waistline prevent a big fry-up from being anything other than a too-infrequent treat.
Roast in Borough Market offers very decent breakfasts. Yes, you will assume, dear reader, that the sausages will be superb and that the bacon will be memorable. Right on both counts. Roast has a great reputation for all things meaty. An evening meal here should not be passed up. But Roast has vegetables as well.
The Full Monty, Traditional English, and Big Fry-up are all the same thing. Substantial, delicious, moreish, tempting and meat-laden breakfasts. We wax lyrical about them because they are, from time to time, just what we crave. But how’s about vegetarians? Menus will offer vegetarian specials and non-meat options but they are often boring and almost always too worthy – fiddle-head fern cutlet and yak’s milk smoothie.
I am not a vegetarian, as I am by nature greedy. I love food in all its myriad guises so if for whatever reason I felt unable to eat meat, I would want to have the option of still enjoying the best food. So what about breakfast? Roast has a menu that embraces vegetarians, holds them close, says “There, there, you’re safe now” and presents them with a grown-up brekkie sans meat.
Try the Veggie Borough which includes a Veggie Borough banger, grilled tomatoes, field mushrooms, tattie scone, wholemeal toast and your choice of eggs. Now, that’s what I call a real breakfast that just happens not to include meat. Those veggie bangers are substantial sausages made of vegetables and grains. The texture is hearty and firm, and they’re full of herby flavour.
If your mind is set on somewhat lighter fare then you could do worse than a 3-egg omelette. These are fluffy and flecked with the fresh green of chives. Neal’s Yard Cheddar cheese, field mushrooms and herbs, or Smoked trout are your veggie options. A side order of bubble ‘n’ squeak might be tempting but remember it’s fried in beef dripping. For my overseas readers I should explain that this confection is a traditional Monday dish made from left-over potatoes and greens from the Sunday lunch. Patties of these crushed vegetables are seasoned and then fried till slightly browned. Delightfully comforting and rustic.
There are plenty of lighter items for vegetarians to graze upon. Toasted cottage loaf with a selection of English preserves, fresh fruit salad, muesli with Earl Grey prunes and yoghurt for the more health-conscious. Also Scott’s porridge oats with a jug of cream for the colder mornings. Two boiled eggs with Marmite soldiers for those with a taste for the finer things in life. Gypsy toast with stewed cranberries, bananas, pistachios and soured cream. Kippers with lemon and butter. Smoked trout with scrambled eggs.
The Full Borough is the meal of choice for the carnivore of the species. High-quality ingredients to remind us of why the most celebrated of British meals is still so popular. Ramsay smoked streaky bacon, Cumberland sausages, fried bread, Ramsay of Carluke black pudding, grilled tomatoes, field mushrooms, bubble ’n’ squeak and your choice of egg, poached, fried or scrambled.
Roast in Borough Market has an appealing early-morning ambiance. Its prices are reasonable for such an establishment. The ingredients are well-chosen and the finest of their type, from the jams and preserves to the sausages and bacon. Breakfast isn’t a meal to be rushed. This is a departure from your usual routine. Order some Roast special-blend English breakfast tea instead of your mug of instant coffee. Indulge in a generous cooked breakfast prepared by chefs who are more awake than you are. Relax and read the morning papers rather than scraping the toast over the kitchen sink. In other words, enjoy!
Monday – Friday 7.00am – 11:00am
Saturday 8.00am – 11:30am
Roast, The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London SE1 1TL.
Reservations and Enquiries: 0845 034 7300
Fax: 0845 034 7301
Visit Roast here
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018