I get rather tired of the ‘full English breakfast’. Apart from the fact that hash browns and baked beans are not really traditional, I also find that many hotels don’t serve the equally traditional kipper or bloater.
There’s nothing like the gorgeous smokiness of a proper kipper to start the day properly. But where can I find one in London?
Some swear by the Ritz – proper succuluent kippers, not dried up or tough. But I’d prefer to head to the Haymarket Hotel, where the kippers are served with grain mustard butter – a neat twist on the traditional recipe.
The Haymarket is part of the highly-rated Firmdale Hotels group and ranked in the current top 20 London hotels on TripAdvisor. It is however rated slightly below its sister properties the Soho Hotel and Covent Garden Hotel.
While the Haymarket’s kippers are Scottish, Dean Street Townhouse serves Manx kippers, which a lot of people think are the best (and before you ask: yes, Manx kippers do have tails!). Just with ordinary butter though.
London Hotels Insight considers Dean Street Townhouse one of the best townhouse hotels in London, with pretty rooms and a good restaurant.
On a recent visit the General Manager assured me they serve this delicacy at breakfast…in fact they’ll rustle up just about anything you ask for, this being London’s current number 1 hotel among TripAdvisor reviewers.
Of course those aren’t the only hotels in London to serve kippers for breakfast. But the number does seem to have shrunk, despite the recent innovation in London hotel breakfasts we featured a while back.
So even while the breakfast menu as a whole has expanded in most hotels, the kipper has become an endangered species. In my book that’s a shame.
I don’t think they’re unhealthy. Unlike the ‘great British breakfast’, kippers are actually quite a light option – lots of fish oils, and no fat (well, except for that knob of butter gently melting all over the top of them).
It may be because of the uncompromisingly smoky smell and flavour. True, the smell tends to linger – but that’s actually one reason I quite often eat kippers in hotels but never cook them at home! Smoked salmon, on its own or in scrambled egg, seems to have taken over as the preferred fish for breakfast – I presume because its flavour is more delicate.
And I can’t find a London hotel serving bloaters (the Norfolk version – the fish is smoked whole rather than split into two first). Which is sad since a nicely smoked and cooked bloater is one of the best ways to start the day.
Oh well, it looks like I’ll just have to stick with badly-made hotel toast!
Photo credits: jem’s photostream, Haymarket Hotel (Firmdale Hotels), Dean Street Townhouse, Hotel 41 (Red Carnation Hotels Collection).