This is something DonQui has wanted to try out for some time.
The Wolseley on Piccadilly in London, is a self-proclaimed ‘café-restaurant in the grand European tradition’. It is famous for its breakfasts. Although the magnificent art-deco building dates back to 1921 it has not been a restaurant all that long. In previous lives it has been both a car showroom and a bank.
Elegant and with formally dressed waiters the Wolseley not cheap. Nor is it easy to get a table without a reservation. Finding himself at a loose end in London on a cold February Sunday morning, DonQui decides to take his chances. He is slightly disconcerted to find the place absolutely buzzing at 10am. Fortunately the friendly lady at the door is able to find him a spot. He is very glad she did.
The breakfast menu is extensive offering almost anything one might want from the piles of delicious looking croissants strategically placed around the rooms, to classic egg dishes, müslis, and yoghurt.
DonQui orders french toast with bacon. This is one of his favourite breakfast dishes and it is surprisingly hard to find on European menus.
It is just about perfect. Nice thick slices of bread, properly soaked in egg mixture with no dry bread bits in the middle. It is smothered with proper crispy bacon and served with a generous jug of real maple syrup on the side. DonQui thinks he would be hard pressed to cook better himself.
The elegant setting, filled with a mix of tourists and Londoners, makes breakfast here feel like a real treat. The coffee is great too.
The bill at the end did not break the bank as DonQui suspects a dinner bill might.
By now readers will be well aware of the large role breakfast plays in DonQui’s life. When he is in London, his breakfast of choice is often a croissant with fresh pressed orange juice and a large milky coffee at Il Molino on Battersea Park Rd.
With the world being colonised by identikit coffee shops DonQui is very happy whenever he finds a good independent. The furnishings are a delightful mishmash of distressed wood tables (none of them matching) with a bar under the window covered with newspapers and a few seats outside. Various Italian food stuffs are stacked on shelves around the walls both for decoration and purchase.
The staff are young, friendly, and mostly Italian. They approach their work and customer service with that typical southern European insouciance which DonQui rather likes. There is none of this ghastly American: ‘how may I help you’ or ‘have a nice day’ — or worst of all when the servers tell DonQui their name in hope of getting a better tip. Not likely – it only makes him more curmudgeonly!
Il Molino, therefore, is not a place to come if you are in a rush — there are plenty other places for those who prefer cold efficiency or saccharine over-exaggerated friendliness. Il Molino is a place to come and have something to eat and drink, read the paper, watch the world go by or maybe get the laptop or pad out to do a little work. Just like in France or Italy, for the price of a single coffee you can stay all day.
The coffee is excellent as are the various pastries. They also have a deli counter with items more suitable for a light lunch. These look good but as DonQui has not yet sampled any, he cannot vouch for them. There is music in the background but not too loud. With the likes of the Who, Pink Floyd, and Rolling Stones on the play list last time he was there, it is the kind of music DonQui approves of.
Although it has a youngish, slightly trendy vibe the customer base is as eclectic as the furniture. They may be an old man sitting in the corner with a paper, a couple of yummy mummies with tots in tow, an urban professional playing with his iphone, and workers dropping in from a nearby building site. No bearded hipsters, however — after all, this is Battersea not Shoreditch.
Yes it it probably true that DonQui is slightly obsessed with breakfast.
When he came across this chocolateria in Granada he just had to try out their breakfast special of Churros, hot chocolate and fresh orange juice.
It was rather delicious. Churros are super light fried dough, served hot for dipping into the very thick pudding-like hot chocolate — all rather delightfully decadent!
Breakfast is very important to DonQui. Almost as soon as he wakes he is thinking about what he wants to eat. If he goes too long without breakfast — say more than 20 minutes after waking — then Mr Grumpy shows up and DonQui is really not worth knowing at all.
His favourite breakfast is without a doubt buttermilk pancakes with blueberries, crispy bacon, lashings of butter, and swimming in proper maple syrup — none of the artificial stuff thank you very much!
French toast (well soaked before cooking) is a close second, tied with scrambled eggs on toast, both with crispy bacon. And DonQui also quite enjoys a full English every once in a while with fried egg (on toast) back bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and maybe black pudding.
Of course he would be a very large donkey indeed if he ate this sort of thing every day, so on a regular basis he is quite happy with his own muesli mixture (with blueberries) or maybe a bowl of porridge on a cold winter’s day.
Image DonQui’s dismay, therefore, when he heard that the Spanish don’t really do breakfast. At best he could expect a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of toast or something similarly dull and uninteresting.
Around the corner from where he was staying in Seville there was a small café/bakery called Cupcakes and Go which billed itself in an unusual multilingual style as
Here he waited with some trepidation to see if a Spanish breakfast was really as dull as it sounded.
His spirits rose when he saw what came. It may not have been pancakes and maple syrup but it actually looked rather good. Fresh squeezed orange juice, toasted rolls with olive oil and tomato pulp and superb café con leche would see him through to lunch without too much hardship after all.
Cupcakes and Go for great coffee, toast, croissants and, yes, cup cakes too. They also have a small selection of ice-cream All for very reasonable prices.