Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hotel Montanus, Brugge

Never has a hotel name had more potential for potty-mouth schoolboy jokes than the Hotel Montanus, Nieuwe Gentweg 78, Brugge, Belgium, Tel +32 50 33 11 76. But I am going to resist the temptation. Instead, I will talk only of the sweet buns, delicious chocolate spread, and other delights from the brunch buffet.


It was a bit of a lucky dip, the brunch buffet. The smiling yellow tub of Kwatta, for example, was a mystery to me until I peeled back the lid to discover gooey chocky spread inside. Little did I know that Kwatta apparently pioneered chocolate bars and spreads almost 100 years ago.

So, dip and spread some chocolate on your bun. Scoff it down. Switch to ham, eggs and cheese. Scoff it down. Back to Kwatta. Scoff. A bit more meat, cheese and bun. Scoff. Coffee. Slurp. More cheese and bun. You'll never get bored at the Belgian brunch buffet.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Restaurant t VOUTJE, Brugge

I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn't, so it doesn't.
Ray, In Bruges

After downing several litres of Belgian beer the day before, I was very much in need of my recovery breakfast at 't VOUTJE, Elermarkt 17, Brugge, +32 50 34 50 40. And despite looking a bit like a fried frisbee, this was actually a very good omelette. Must have been the quality ham and cheese. Or the fact that it was fried in real butter. The side of fries went down well, too.

omelette in bruges

Bruges, in case you have not seen the movie, is either a fairytale medieval town (Harry's view) or a shithole (Ray's view). I am leaning towards Harry's view. It's got quaint old buildings, dinky canals, cobbled streets, and a bell tower with a full time bell ringer. Hard to find a prettier setting to kick back and enjoy a tasty ham and cheese omelette. Or maybe a croque? Or some boiled eggs, fresh bread and cold cuts?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Simpsons-in-the-Strand, London

Credit is a system whereby a person who cannot pay gets another person who cannot pay to guarantee that he can pay.
Charles Dickens

I wonder if Dickens had good credit at his old haunt, Simpson's-in-the-Strand, 100 Strand, London, Tel +44 20 7836 9112? These days, at around 20-quid-a-head for breakfast, it's certainly the kind of place where you want someone else to pay. But for a great British experience, the Great British breakfast is worth the cash. Or credit. If you can still get it.

simpsons full english

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Bleeding Heart Tavern, London

There's something a little creepy about eating black pudding in a place called Bleeding Heart Tavern, Bleeding Heart Yard (off Greville Street), London, Tel +44 20 7242 2056. Especially when you hear the urban legend of Lady Elizabeth Hatton being ripped limb from limb by her jilted Spanish lover, leaving her dismembered body in the yard, and her heart pumping blood across the cobblestones. But I was in the mood for a Full English, so there was no dodging the blood sausage.

full bleeding english

A very fine Full English it was, too. Both fried and scrambled eggs were good (the latter soft and creamy). Tasty beans and tomatoes. A trio of meats (black pud, suffolk bacon and a fat snag). And a few fresh slices of builder's crack toast.

Curiously, this fine English fry up was produced by a bunch of French people, who now run the tavern. Which means you can also get house-baked croissants, if you prefer less blood and meat with your breakfast. Coffee was OK, but tea always seems a safer bet in London.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Brasserie James, Clapham South

A global financial meltdown is probably not the ideal timing to be opening a mediocre restaurant in London. Which is bad news for Brasserie James, 47 Balham Hill, Clapham South, London, Tel +44 20 8772 0057. Because we are in the middle of a global financial meltdown and, based on their brunch performance, Brasserie James is mediocre.

croque james

The croque was average, at best. I like a nice thick croque. This one was model-thin. The eggs benedict was average. I like soft poached eggs. These were so hard we sent them back.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

wd~50, New York

Eggs Benedict is genius. It’s eggs covered in eggs. I mean, come on, that person should be the president.

If you prefer art over porn, then get yourself to wd~50, 50 Clinton Street, New York, Tel +1 212 477 2900. Because art is the best way to describe Wylie Dufresne's eggs benedict. Not so much an object of lust, as something to stare at, contemplate and admire.

So how do you turn eggs benedict into a work of art? You season and slow poach the yolks in a cyclindrical sleeve to create a column of fudgy egg. You spear that with a wafer of crispy bacon. Then you seal a cube of hollandaise inside a crust of muffin crumbs and deep fry till golden brown. Easy.

Just don't expect deep satisfaction. This is Picaso, not porno, and in two mouthfuls it's gone.

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