A full English breakfast is so delicious and so satisfying, once you finish it, you can count on skipping lunch and waiting until teatime to eat again. While on holiday, I’ve personally endured many a fusty room and boring bed-and-breakfast conversation, secure in the knowledge that I’d get a home-cooked version of this meal when I got up in the morning.
The only place to find a decent British breakfast in Houston is a pub. The “full English” at The Red Lion is the best version I’ve sampled, an intricate assemblage of two sunny-side-up eggs perched on a rasher of Irish bacon, which in turn rests atop a pile of sautéed mushrooms. A large link of mild English sausage, partially obscured by several sliced, sautéed tomatoes, lies across the middle of the plate, acting as a dam to hold back a huge pool of Heinz beans. A basket of unbuttered toast is served on the side, perfect for mopping up beans and yolk. It’s a lovely breakfast, if oddly hard to come by.
The English breakfast is nowhere to be found on the Red Lion’s menu. When I asked a waitress about it one weekday at lunchtime, she denied that the restaurant even served it. “Try asking on a Saturday or Sunday,” a regular sitting at the bar whispered when the server walked away. So I returned early on a Sunday afternoon and sure enough, a different waitress proved happy to oblige.
The Richmond Arms’s breakfast is nearly identical to the Red Lion’s on weekend mornings (during those soccer matches mentioned above). It also is not on the pub’s regular menu, though it is mentioned in the sports-schedule section of its website.
I was excited when I found a reasonable facsimile of an English breakfast described on the Sunday brunch menu at The Firkin & Phoenix. And I was equally distraught when I showed up one early Sunday afternoon to discover they no longer serve it. Instead, I was handed a brunch menu that included a lot of Mexican dishes like eggs with green chiles and taco truck tacos (to be fair, the pub still offers English-style sausage rolls).
The weekend breakfast menu at The Bull & Bear is extensive, and the place gets extra points for offering the extremely authentic British breakfast dish that is beans on toast. But “The Bull & Bear Breakfast,” the pub’s version of a full English, isn’t too exciting. It includes two fried eggs, a puddle of Heinz beans, and Irish bacon—but the sausages are of the mini-American link variety and the hash browns are bland and extraneous. Other breakfasts include corned beef hash and eggs and a 10-ounce ribeye steak with eggs, both of which are pleasant enough, but not worth going out of your way for.
The Houston pub breakfast that I miss the most was served at Slainte Irish Pub, an establishment that was located downtown, on Main St., but went out of business a few years ago. The plate included eggs and Irish bacon along with black and white pudding and English tea in a proper teapot. Now that was a breakfast.