While eating breakfast it struck me that there are a number of ways that food snobbery in some establishments (often posh hotels) ruins this great British tradition. They are as follows:
- No beans - baked beans are an essential component of the full English, but often omitted in smart establishments becuase beans are what common oiks eat. They provide essential contrast and help to cut through the excessive meat content that is otherwise at the heart of the breakfast.
- No potatoes - I'm afraid The Pantry, as you can see, let me down here. Potatoes make or break the full English. I can understand why posh venues don't want to include hash browns (though there is nothing wrong with these if all else fails), but there is no reason for not providing the real thing, which is fried potatoes. Polly Tea Rooms in Marlborough is excellent at these, though they fall down on the baked bean test.
- Too high fallutin' sausages - possibly my most controversial suggestion, I believe that some sausages are too good for the full English. Let me stress straight away that the tasteless and textureless mush tubes served up in (say) Asda aren't good enough. But if you go for a massively flavourful Cumberland sausage, say, it can overwhelm everything else, and the essence of the full English is being able to mix, say, sausage and potato or sausage and beans and appreciate all the tastes coming together. The right level to pitch it, I'd suggest, is the quality of sausages most supermarkets sell as their premium (Buy the Best/Extra Special/etc.) range.
- No sauce - it looks from the picture as if The Pantry let me down on this too, but I just hadn't put it on yet. Most venues will provide brown/tomato sauce, but it can feel very intimidating having to ask for it in a posh venue. For me, breakfast without brown sauce is a limited experience. I also recommend sauce be served either in sachets or bottles. The posh venue will tend to serve it in a ramikin or similar with a spoon. The trouble with this is you don't know what's got into it, or how long it has been standing open to the atmosphere, flies etc. They have no problem putting a bottle of wine on the table - the same should go for sauce. (It also shows if they've gone for a good brand or generic).