This Modest Diner Serves London’s Best Full English Breakfast
On any given morning, a gravel-voiced woman in a Chesty Bonds singlet shouts order after order at Westminster’s Regency Café.
“One set breakfast with beans and toast with a black coffee! Omelette with chips! Eggs with black pudding and hash browns!”
She’ll continue like this late into the morning with few breaks between customers. You see, the Regency Café makes the best full English breakfast in London, bar none.
Set on a deceptively quiet corner in one of the city’s busiest central suburbs, it’s hardly changed since it opened on Regency Street in 1946. The pastel tiling job that adorns all four walls is original, while the booth-style tables are new additions (not that you’d know it).
Its Art Deco charm is as beloved by locals and breakfast enthusiasts as it is by the film, TV and fashion industries: It’s appeared in everything from Layer Cake to the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Clippings from the many fashion spreads in which it’s features are strung about the place, alongside memorabilia from Champions League team Tottenham Hotspur FC. (The owners are fans.)
These days, it’s run by Claudia Perotti and Marco Schiavetta, the daughter and son of founders Antonio Perotti and Gino Schiavetta.
At almost any time of the day, it’s a hive of activity: Bobbies sit four to a booth on their breaks and tradies down unbelievable portions while tourists jostle for a coveted Instagram snap. It’s a people-watching heaven.
But while it’s a treat to look at – all gingham drapes and chalkboard menus – it’s the spread we’re here for. As it’s regularly voted one of the best breakfasts in the English capital, you could be forgiven for expecting the menu is pages long.
In fact, when it comes to breakfast, there are just two choices: the $9.50 (£5.50) set breakfast – an egg, sausage, two bacon rashers, and your choice of beans or tomatoes, bread or toast, tea or coffee – or an omelette with chips for $5.90 (£3.45). Diners can design their own dish thanks to cheap-as-chips extras like black pudding, bubble and squeak and hash browns, but, really, it’s a formula that’s best not messed with.
Served in positively enormous portions, the set breakfast is the perfect balance of hearty, just-like-mum-made flavour and grease. Cooked how you like, the eggs aren’t over- or under-done, the bacon is crispy, and the hash browns have just the right amount of crunch.
The atmosphere is friendly and homey, and the process is old school – cash only, no table service. Just don’t dilly dally when you get to the counter if you don’t want that raspy voice asking the next person in line what they’ll have.
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(Lead image: @polaathome / Instagram)