An emphatic “yes,” says Head Chef Thomas Hammond at Reform Social & Grill, the first gastropub in Dubai and an award-winning eatery famed for British staples such as Sunday roast, beef Wellington, and – of course – the full English breakfast.
Complete with sausages, dry-cured bacon, grilled tomato, buttered button mushrooms, baked beans, and eggs done your way accented by toast or English muffin, ‘The Full English’ here wins rave reviews every time. And let’s not forget the often-debated extras: hash browns for the traditionalists, haggis fritters for the brave, and more. The greasy, hearty, and oh-so-satisfying “fry-up” is as synonymous with British culture as drinking tea and discussing the weather, but loved the world over. So what exactly explains its appeal?
“I think it is a very nostalgic dish for us,” says Hammond. “A full English breakfast will keep you full and, at home, makes for a cheap meal. It’s also comfort food, and a lot of people believe it to be a great cure for an ‘indulgent’ night out. It’s also very popular with the working trades, who can get a good feed at six in the morning before work as cafés in the UK tend to open a lot earlier than restaurants.” And while the basic components of this ubiquitous dish tend to be standard, the variations are seemingly endless, which means the full English breakfast is not just reserved for meat-eaters working manual-labor jobs – as Hammond explains below.
“You will need the following: sausages, unsmoked bacon, button mushrooms, plum tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns, black pudding, toast or fried bread, and eggs (fried, scrambled, or poached depending on your preference). This would be a basic cover for a good full English breakfast.”
“If you’re a vegetarian, just replace the bacon with vegetarian bacon – strips of tempeh or tofu – and the sausage with good-quality vegetarian sausages, and remove the black pudding of course. For something a bit more special, I would advise eggs and wilted spinach on an English muffin.”
“If you’re vegan, you could replace the egg with tofu, which you could do either scrambled or seasoned and fried. Replace the sausages and bacon with vegan versions, and remove the black pudding.”
Hold the Gluten
“If you have celiac disease, bear in mind that some sausages contain gluten, so just check the list of ingredients first. You’ll also have to replace the toast with gluten-free bread, which you can now find in most stores nowadays.”
“To be honest, an English breakfast is not supposed to be healthy – it’s best for a feast! Having said that, you could source organic meat and vegetables, grill your sausages and bacon to get rid of any excess fat, and go for poached eggs. Try using an oven or a grill to avoid having to cook in oil.”
“If you want to go for a Middle Eastern theme, add some spices to the beans and bake your eggs to make a shakshuka.”