Monday, 27 September 2010

The Full English @ Light Café

"To eat well in England, you should have breakfast three times a day" – Somerset Maugham
It doesn't quite hold true today but we all know where Maugham is coming from. Of the three meals of the day, breakfast is the one where the English can hold their heads up high on the field of culinary battle. It really is superior to the French croissant and I don't quite know what the Germans are thinking of with their cheese and cold cut combo.

For me the full English is best eaten at home or at a greasy spoon but occasionally I like to go to a slightly posher caff. I'm thinking of places that are two-a-penny in Antipodean cities like Sydney, Wellington, and my favourite, Melbourne. Places where you can enjoy a superior breakfast/brunch in a chilled out environment with fresh juice and proper coffee. Like endless boasting about their sporting prowess, it's something that our Aussie and Kiwi friends excel at.

I don't think it has any Antipodean links but the Light Café in Wimbledon Village wouldn't look or feel out of place down under. Our group of four pitched up here for a spot of Sunday brunch and were seated in the lovely conservatory at the back.

We all went for the full English. The lone fried egg was on the small side and we weren't offered the option of scrambled or poached. The Gloucester Old Spot sausage was very good and I can't complain about the quality of the other items just the quantity. I know I'm paying for the privilege of eating in Wimbledon Village but for £7.50, an extra egg, baked beans and some more toast wouldn't have gone amiss.

On the plus side, they did have black pudding, which for me defines a cooked breakfast from these shores. The Ref didn't fancy his and mentioned that he would've preferred hash browns. I proceeded to do 'one' on how hash browns are American and had no place in a full English. I perhaps took the banter too far by proclaiming how Surrey boys like The Ref didn't 'get' black pudding and that he was a 'Southern Jessie'; especially, as I did snaffle his black pud.

Around the table there were minor moans, as I know Mr Pak Choi prefers his eggs scrambled and DK wasn't happy at how small the drinks were (he is from Yorkshire). But for all that, it was a superior breakfast compared to the one I had at Wallace & Co.

Moreover, this place is a spin-off from the acclaimed Light House restaurant and it's good to see a local business take over a spot formerly occupied by a chain (the now defunct Tootsies). I'll be back but probably for lunch in the hope that the portions are more substantial.

Light Cafe on Urbanspoon

Light Café, 48 High Street, Wimbledon, London SW19 5AX (Tel 020-8946-3031)
Nearest tube/rail: Wimbledon


  1. Aww, I'm so rapt you picked Melbourne as your favourite Antipodean city for a posh brekkie. I agree of course! I really like black pudding with my full English too. One of my favourite places for it is Bistrotheque in East London.

  2. That plate definitely doesn't look crowded enough - it should be heaving! One sossige and one bacon is a bit mean.

  3. I'm with you on the Antipodean brekkies - I still measure all scrambled eggs against some i had in a small cafe in Sydney. And the coffee in Melbourne...*sigh*... it's just making me Oz-sick.

    I'd argue your point on breakfast because i reckon it's brunch where we brits really hold our own, but then, i am nit picking there. The plate does look a little empty and one egg is a wee bit stingy, but the sausage does look tasty.

    My fave breakkie spot (if you can get in) is Otto Lenghi, just for their scrambled eggs, which are divine.

  4. The plate does look like it's missing a few eggs and sausages!

    Antipodeans really 'do' brunch almost as a weekend ritual. Caravan in Exmouth Market hits the spot for me anytime I feel a little home sick.

  5. GDiva - I love Melbourne. There's a great caff that does the most amazing brekkie. Sadly, I can't remember what it's called as it was long before I was a blogger.

    Lizzie - I hope this post will shame Light Cafe into bigger portions!

    Gworm - to me breakfast and brunch are the same thing, as I nearly always have a full English! IMHO, the only difference is that brunch is served after 11am!

    Buzzarfood - welcome! The plate was missing one extra of almost every item!

    Thanks to all for sharing your London brekkie/brunch tips. Owing to distance, I probably won't be able to sample them all but it's always good to know. It's also evidence of a growing brekkie/brunch scene that I hope one day will rival that of our friends down under.

  6. That egg looks VERY lonely! And yes, Australians make the best breakfasts! I mean, check out Lantana ;)

  7. For the price it wouldn't have hurt to pop another egg on there. They should always be in pairs. Does look pretty though.
    When I need to pig out, I always head to the Breakfast Club in Islington. There you get a heaving plate of the Full Monty. Just the queues are a pain.

  8. @Dave,
    Agreed about the egg. Haven't come across a 'full English' with only a single egg myself. :)

    Funny that I've not had the chance to try out Islington's Breakfast Club as it's literally right at my doorstep. And yes, the queue is a put off.

  9. So right - the one meal where England trashes all comers and rightly so :).

  10. Catty - Lantana is one of the few places far away from me that I nearly tried for brunch. I say nearly as I was deterred by the queues and went elsewhere!

    Dave/LChow - it wasn't just that it was a single egg that bugged me. I mean look how small it is, I didn't realise eggs that small still existed.

    Tom - as much as I love congee and noodles, they're more lunch items for me. And for me, the full English is the King of breakfasts.