Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Breakfast included: Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

I'm going to nominate the 'Manoir' for an award. They may have a windowsill in the reception (a very large window sill) that's already groaning with the weight of silverware, but I'm sure they wouldn't sniff at another one... best hotel breakfast... There... said it.

It's just the most delectable and broad and fresh and inch-perfect breakfast I've encountered.

The Muesli's were there for a treat (mais oui) and were probably the only guests who were more excited about the breakfast than the supper... and lordy it didn't disappoint.

Surroundings: The Manoir is an elegant Cotswold stone manor, draped in tumbling greenery and surrounded by magical gardens, trees and the neatest veggie patch you'll ever come across. It has 32 bedrooms in the main house and courtyard and has two Michelin stars, which makes it a place for special occasions for couples, families and the odd business person(s).

Buffet: Extensive! Exquisitely chopped and labelled fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit and pomegranate juices, homemade granola bars, bircher muesli, yoghurt, cereals, freshly baked bread, pastries billowing out of baskets, and little lines of thin-cut ham and cheese. With eyes bulging bigger than stomachs, it's hard to know where to start.

Hot stuff: The menu was unusual in its simplicity - fry-up, kippers, eggs Benedict... very little Michelin innovation aside from a smoked halibut with spinach, poached egg and a mustard sauce. At first ML was a little disappointed, wanting foams and fuss and breakfast couture... but then, the Manoir isn't about that, even at supper. The food is fresh, wholesome and colourful, with perfect cooking and exquisite assembly, and all of those things were true of the breakfast dishes. I just hope the Muesli's can think of another occasion special enough to pop back...


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Mini Muesli Lover's breakfast spread

Non-parents may wish to look away in disgust and continue sipping their flat white over the newspaper... Operation nappy fill is underway at the ML household after days of straining.

Consequently, Mini ML is being offered all manner of digestion-enhancing goodies - fig, oranges, orange juice, raspberry and pear whizzed up with yoghurt and some milky baby cereal... Fingers crossed it does the job.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Special? K granola...

Although Muesli Lover wasn't exactly beating the Kelloggs' door down to try the Special K granola that launched this summer, ML was intrigued. With so many commercial granolas on the market that are sugary and fatty, one that claimed to be healthier was an inviting prospect.

And I have to say, this one impressed. It was crunchy and wholesome tasting with no clusters, but satisfying oats, spelt, rye, pumpkin seeds and almonds. There was a generous sprinkling of cranberries and seeds. It's still 7.7g sugars/45g portion, which is middling to low for a granola, but still means this should not be an every day cereal...

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Best cafes: Mill Lane Bistro, London NW6

When Bar 77 changed hands to become the Mill Lane Bistro, stakes were high. A relaxed wine bar with the world's best humous was a ML favourite (although evidently, we, along with the rest of NW6, didn't visit often enough...).  But in the hands of a friendly couple, one of whom, Cyril, a Frenchman who has been a manager at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris and Scott’s in Mayfair, and with rave reviews swiftly ensuing, we needn't have worried.

And finally, we made it to breakfast there (but only in time for it to announce it's closure shortly afterwards, but more of that later...

The menu is succinct and more than a little French, rather like the evening menu (snails, duck and garlic galore...). We had the croque Madame and eggs Benedict. Both were superb - swiftly served, hot, fresh, colourful and the yolks were perfectly gooey. The coffee was decent too and the bread crisply toasted... It's only a shame we hadn't made it sooner.

So, three years in and Cyril is moving 'to bigger and better things in NW London'... (at the time of writing...), we wait with baited breath...

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Waffle On the menu for brunch

Muesli Lover gets terribly excited on discovering a new food market, and Maltby Street was no let down. It's on Ropewalk in Bermondsey, south east London, and has so many brunch goodies, it's hard to know where to start... Bloody Mary's from Little Bird Gin would be my recommendation, smartly followed up with a waffle from Waffle On.

The stall is run by waffle enthusiasts Eddie and Bettina. Dry cure bacon and biodynamic egg or maple syrup is the obvious brunch choice, but I couldn't resist the slow-cooked duck, above, with homemade plum sauce.

The portion size is generous, but the waffles are light with a crispy edge, leaving plenty of room for one of the sweet waffles...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Recipease, Notting Hill, London

London has breakfast deserts... and not always where one would expect... like Notting Hill. There's overpriced vintage, cupcakes, and Underground t-shirts galore, but a decent breakfast spot has alluded this place for some time... so where do the tourists looking for Hugh Grant's bookshop go for their pancakes and coffee?

Well, it may not be cute and independent and quirky like the Travel Bookshop, but Recipease does a decent breakfast and is a friendly, light and airy spot.

Massive windows look down over Notting Hill's road junction, with tables arranged around a central open kitchen. Downstairs is the shop and cooking school, while upstairs the bright, chunky interior continues.

It's not the easiest place with a buggy, but Mini Muesli Lover was happy to park her ride downstairs for breakfast upstairs (high chair and baby change boxes ticked). She found the service smiley and suitably gooey over her ga ga's.

The menu is appealing - muesli and yoghurt, coulis with fruit (£5.95), freshly made bread (which we were offered to try courtesy of a baking class downstairs). Then there's options like a bacon and egg sarnie (£4.50) and croque madame (£6.95), as well as the breakfast zeitgeist, 'smashed' avocado on toast (£6.95), with the addition or Worcestershire sauce... must try that one at home.

We ordered the scrambled egg with smoked salmon, vegetarian breakfast (both £8.95), mango lassi and strawberry tart (non alcoholic cocktail) (both £4). We also got the full works (pictured above) by mistake.

All were superb - fresh, attractively presented and well prepared, and with Jamie Oliver quirks, like tortilla and home-made beans with tomato on the full 'fry-ups'. The prices are at the upper end, but justified by the quality of food and the location. And finally, there's somewhere decent to go for breakfast in W11, it may not be as quirky as Mr Grant, but it's got the mass appeal of his schmaltzy movies...