Those clever folk who say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day are definitely my kind of people; I am constantly on a quest for the best coffee, the freshest juice and the kind of menus that can force me out of my comatose state in the morning. The Black Penny on Great Queen Street, minutes from Holborn station and Covent Garden, managed just that. As an avid reader, researcher and day-dreamer of menus, I usually know exactly what I’m going to order before I walk through the door of a restaurant, and this was no exception. The vibe is not dissimilar to Battersea’s Queenswood, though the menu at the Black Penny is a little less vegetable-loving-hippy, and a little more trendy-twists on home favourites.
If you’re after a full-blown English brekky then look no further; Black Penny offers eggs any way with a build-your-own array of sides from bacon and beans for the traditionalist, to smoked salmon and halloumi that will leave your Instagram followers drooling. When browsing for new brunch venues, it was the Brioche French Toast, however, that motivated my morning alarm. Laden with stewed rhubarb and vanilla ricotta, sprinkled with salted pistachios and drizzled with honey; welcome to your morning sugar fix. I had such high expectations, and whilst I was not disappointed, I was incredibly full after finishing barely half of the stack of sticky, sweet French toast. I hate wasting food and when I’ve paid the best part of £11 for a breakfast dish I’m especially reluctant, however I could not physically finish it. Where this particular dish is concerned, the Black Penny would do well to take heed from Queenswood’s Watermelon & Ricotta dish, which got the balance between sweet and savoury spot on. Whilst the Black Penny made a valiant attempt, I would much rather have had a smaller portion and finished feeling satisfied, rather than stuffed.
At around £40 for breakfast for two including service, this is definitely more of treat; when you just can’t face the queues in Pret and the suspicious looking green concotion whizzed up in your Nutri-Bullet is looking less Deliciously Ella than Shrek’s puke. Service is attentive whilst not over-zealous, and the jugs of cucumber water on the tables are a welcome addition. Take a seat in the cosy seminar pit surrounded by travel magazines (so that you can live vicariously through others) and soak up the characterful environment created by the mid-late 19th Century inspired interior.
The Black Penny; 34 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AA