In search of the ultimate fry-up


The Curious Cafe’s finest veggie brekkie

I never ate fried brekkies in the dim and distant days of eating meat – for one thing I couldn’t stand the smell of bacon. And I loathe eggs in any form. So once I’d gone over to the veggie side, they never appeared on my radar.

They became occasional and faintly bizarre treats when I stayed in hotels – after all, it was always an experience to see what else you got served alongside a plate of baked beans and a shrivelled tomato or two.

It all changed, though, when vegetarian sausages became more than those grease-laden things that Linda McCartney used to inflict on an innocent veggie world.

So what do I want? Sausages – preferably not the boring soya ones. Grilled tomatoes. Mushrooms. Hash browns or fried potatoes. Baked beans. Toast. Not fussed about fried bread. And although I once had a yummy veggie brekkie on a train journey, complete with halloumi in lieu of bacon, I’m not into bacon substitutes either. I don’t eat eggs in any form, so I also want somewhere that will let me substitute items.

So come with me as I go in search of the ultimate veggie brekkie … And I shall now announce the results in reverse order.

Hon mensh, as they say in the New Statesman competition, for the Taurus Crafts café on the outskirts of Lydney – they do a vegan brekkie. The potato cakes are sometimes a bit soggy, and last time I went they’d run out of vegan spread, so I ended up with eggless mayonnaise on my rock-hard toast (they bake their own bread there and I can confirm it’s nicer untoasted as sarnies or with soup). But hey, kudos for actually catering for vegans.

In third place is Feed, a dinky little café tucked in the railway arches on the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour train station. They do nice cakes and coffee as well, and I can thoroughly recommend the veggie burgers (although that’s a story for another day). But the all-day brekkie is excellent – the sausages are decent and the star turn is the rinky-dinky crisp cubes of fried potato.

In second is the café at the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea. Their coffee is best avoided, but the breakfast is a good ‘un – decent quality mushrooms cooked in butter, and tasty Caerphilly sausages. But you’ve only got a small window of opportunity, as they say at all the worst meetings – the place opens at 10am and you can only get the brekkie up until 12.30pm.

Winner by a mile, though, is the Curious Café in Bath Road, Cheltenham. It lives up to its name, with mismatched tables and chairs, and a very cute garden out the back where you can sit out and eat. The opening hours are a bit weird – they open early, but close early afternoon. And it’s a fairly limited menu, based around sandwiches and wraps. Sadly, the lunchtime vegetarian sausages and mash, served with gravy and grilled vegetables, seems to have gone AWOL. But it’s a great place to meet people, and there’s a wide choice of all-day brekkies, including the best veggie one by a mile (see the piccie above). They don’t mind you substituting items either – so I get another hash brown and/or sausage in place of the two eggs.

If you’ve got any good places to share, bung them in the comments and we can start compiling our Two Fat Veggies’ good brekkie guide …


2 responses »

  1. My nan used to live near the Bath Road, and it was her nearest shopping street – it used to be resolutely untrendy and sensible. Can’t believe its now home to something called The Curious Cafe – sounds wonderful, must go.

    • Yvette, I remember when Bath Road used to be very sorry for itself! It’s all been trendified – organic supermarkets, quaint cafes, delis and even a vinyl record shop! Come with me to the Curious Cafe next time you’re in Cheltenham …

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