No Missed Steak: London’s Best Veggie Fry-UpsBy Angelica Malin
My boyfriend loves a veggie fry-up. Proudly, on a Sunday, he’ll demand he needs his fix of sourdough, and we’ll go hunting for the perfect fry-up – without the bacon. Of course, there’s always the fear the hunt will make us too hungry (that’s what the take-away Panic Pastry is for), and we’ve done pretty well to find some amazing ones.
There’s lots of ways the veggie version can compete with your normal greasy affair – halloumi, avocado, a good veggie sausage, it just needs a bit of oomph. But it needs to have qualities of its own; not just a sad replacement of the meat extravaganza, with some token wilted spinach and a limp hash brown. Oh no, it needs to have sass. If you want bang for your buck, potato for your pound, then get stuck into one of London’s sexiest veggie Full English breakfasts. Here’s where to find them:
What: This Primrose Hill cafe is always full to the rafters with yummy mummies and brunch dates on weekends, so come early. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the tables outside, then you can enjoy delicious brunch in the sunshine, with great iced coffees and fantastic pancakes. Think: berries, ricotta and fluffy pancake mix. The dream.
Order: Vegetarian – two eggs, pan-fried halloumi, avocado, Portobello mushroom & slow roast tomato, sourdough toast (£10.50)
Why: There’s nothing sad about this breakfast, at all. The mushrooms are perfectly cooked, not too oily, and the whole slow roast tomatoes give the whole dish gusto. Your normal bacon and sausage is replaced with chargrilled halloumi, and you can get eggs any way with it. Basically, it’s filling and it’s damn good. Order the salad of the day if you’re feeling virtuous too – it’s always delicious. Come to people watch on the weekend, it’s always fun here.
Where: 101 Regent’s Park Rd, London NW1 8UR
What: First off, if you’re coming to Ben’s Canteen and not getting a Bloody Mary, you’re doing something wrong. They do some of the best Bloody Maries in London – try the Bloody Scary one, it’s super spicy and will knock your hangover out the park. Ben’s is a very informal neighbourhood hangout, with locations in Earlsfield and Battersea, and they are a great spot for catching up friends on the weekend. The food is American-inspired; from banana pancakes with salted caramel sauce to hearty Breakfast Burritos, you won’t leave here hungry.
Order: Full Veggie – tomato, spinach, mushroom, beans, hash browns, toast and 2 eggs (£10)
Why: This hits the spot. The generous portion of beans and hash browns is exactly what your weekend needs. Sure, it’s not the healthiest in town, but it’s definitely one of the best for the price. Generous, filling, and damn delicious.
Where: Locations here
Photo by The Gaztronome – website here
What: When we stumbled on The Counter Cafe in Hackney, we knew we’d hit the jackpot. An independent canal-side cafe and coffee roastery, it’s got the kind of vibe you want to bottle and take home for a rainy day. They have a huge passion for home made food and drinks – find the cafe in the Stour Space gallery on the beautiful Lee canal in Hackney Wick, right next to the Olympic park. You can sit on their tropical pontoon and pretend you are on Waiheke island. Heaven.
Order: Counter Vegetarian Deluxe – toast, avocado, Halloumi, garlic mushrooms, tomatoes & mascarpone, cucumber, radish and apple slaw, new potatoes, eggs and a sprinkling of chickpeas. Choice of eggs; poached, fried or scrambled (£10)
Why: Yes, yes, yes. Because this is one of the most exciting versions of a veggie Full English I’ve tried in the capital – there’s simply nothing “missing” from this breakfast. In truth to this column’s name: no missed steak. Whatsoever. The produce is all super fresh and full of flavour, and the radish and apple slaw gives the whole dish an zing that your normal fry-up lacks. Each item has a little touch that makes it extra special. Just perfect.
Where: 7 Roach Rd, London E3 2PA
What: The Lido Cafe in Brockwell Lido is a modern British restaurant open all day; they serve award winning food in one of London’s most unique settings.T he Brockwell Lido was built in 1937 and is one of the best examples of the celebrated style of this era. It became a cafe in 2009 and after an extensive refurbishment, opened it to the public as well as swimmers for the first time in its history. Come here for seasonal goodness – from the sourdough bread to the oil they triple cook chips in, there’s great care to work with small producers for the best ingredients.
Order: Vegetarian Breakfast – cheese and spinach sausage, roast tomatoes, mushrooms, Heinz baked beans, free range eggs (scrambled, or poached) and sourdough toast (£9.95)
Why: We appreciate people that break the rules. And, you know, The Lido Cafe has done just that. Cheese in a sausage? That’s cray-cray. But actually it’s really nice – as is all the food here. It’s got a beautiful aspect too, so you can enjoy your baked beans and the view all the same time. Lovely stuff.
Where: Dulwich Road, Brockwell Lido, London SE24 0PA
What: If you want to go the full (vegan) hog, then check out Camden’s Inspiral Lounge. The canal-side vegan cafe and bar, which is run on renewable energy, often has live music nights and spoken word performances. Come here for some seriously good vegan nosh; from cashew nut ice cream, to incredible version of Caesar salad with kale and nutritional yeasts (sounds weird, tastes great), they’ve got it going on.
Order: Full Vegan Bake-Up – sausage, potatoes, tomatoes, scrambled tofu, tamari mushrooms, organic beans and GF toast (£8.90)
Why: Honestly, your soul will thank you later. This place has bags of charm and charisma, despite the fact it’s in busting Camden Town, and you can happily spend a few hours overlooking Camden canal and sipping soya lattes here. The Vegan Bake is everything you need in a veggie breakfast, take my word for it.
Where: 250 Camden High Street, Camden, London NW1 8QS
No Missed Steak is a newly weekly vegetarian food column. If you’ve got a tip off in London, tweet us @abouttimemag @jellymalin #NoMissedSteak