People don’t just want eggs for breakfast, they want to eat them all day long, and restaurants in the English capital are being forced to respond to consumer demand.
Every day, 32 million eggs are sold and eaten in the UK, and Londoners are working hard to increase the per person average. Fuelling this trend are eateries that are coming up with imaginative new ways of serving them, and even dedicating entire menus to the humble oeuf.
Yeah Burger (Shoreditch)
This pop-up at the Strong Room on Curtain Road from Adam Creissen and Scott Hopkins recently came up with none other than the Scotch egg burger.
Trend-spotter and travel journalist Jack Southan writes what it’s like: “People say less is more. And most of the time they’re right. But then there are the exceptions, those rare moments where excessive decadence takes the gold. Still, I struggle a bit to imagine the moment someone looked at a burger and thought ‘I wish the bun was made of meat too’.
“Enter the culinary extravagance that is Yeah Burger’s Scotchness Monster. A 120g aged meat patty, thick layers of creamy melted cheese, a flash of green salad and then – the pièce de résistance – a 150g, homemade Scotch egg, halved and pressed either side.
“On first appearances it looks manageable, but half-way through you realise you are eating a single solid lump of meat. The cross section is impressive to even the most hardened carnivore, meat on meat. It is a messy affair consuming it, however – the lack of give in the Scotch egg means anyone but a double-jawed alien will have trouble getting a solid bite. Work your way slowly round until the prime moment. Then it’s all magnificent from there.
“Overall, it is a burger of insanity, but the more you eat the more you come to terms with the thinking Yeah Burger was going for. It is unpractical, unsuitable, and completely ridiculous. But my God it’s delicious. More is definitely more.”
For a vegetarian aloo Scotch egg, check out self-serve salad bar Ethos, where it’s they’re signature dish. These balls of soft-boiled egg rolled in Indian spiced potato, and coated in a delicate shell of fried breadcrumb, are quite unlike anything we’ve tried before.
Bad Egg (the City)
This hipster diner serves everything from ham and eggs to huevos rancheros on its all-day menu. You can have fried eggs with guacamole and sriracha; fried eggs with crispy potato, spicy sausage and black pudding; fried eggs with kimchi and pulled pork; and even crispy deep-fried eggs in Malaysian hot sauce topped with herbs and cheese fondue.
Egg Break (Notting Hill)
Launched by Soho House founder Nick Jones this summer, this rough luxe cafe is where “every dish is built around or adorned with eggs”. An inventive hand-written menu on their Facebook pages lists the like of bacon, eggs and kale on an English muffin; folded egg with sweet corn salsa, red cabbage and sour cream; braised brisket with egg and horseradish on brioche; crisped polenta with mushroom ragu and fried eggs; Farro, 63-degree egg, radish, beetroot, feta and sorrel pesto; and spring vegetable soup with a pickled egg.
Chicken and Egg Shop (Balham)
Also from Nick Jones is shabby chic free-range chicken rotisserie. Here you can get fried eggs with grits and spinach; chicken sandwiches with a fried egg; and chicken and chopped egg salads, along with half, whole or quarter birds from the spit.
Whyte and Brown (Soho)
This “casual chicken and egg-focused restaurant” serves a black pudding Scotch egg with mustard and chive mayo, sun-blushed tomato and herbs; a Veggie Works with halloumi, roast tomatoes, eggs, avocado, mushrooms, beans and grilled sourdough; and a Works with chicken sausage and streaky bacon plus all the extras.
Poached Egg Bar (Dalston)
Created by the team behind Foxcroft and Ginger, this egg-obsessed venture arrived in June and is located in the Beyond Retro vintage clothing store (that says it all). The menu lists poached eggs with a sweet potato scone, chorizo and chermoula Sauce; poached eggs with herb roasted mushrooms, béchamel sauce, truffle oil, nut crumble and Parmesan on sourdough toast; and poached eggs with smoked haddock and caramelised cheese sauce. “To achieve the ideal consistency the eggs are slow cooked ‘sous vide’ at exactly 63 degrees for an hour to achieve the perfect yolks.”
Coming soon – the Good Egg (Stoke Newington)
On the other side of the Atlantic, life-long foodie and PR manager for the Drake hotel, Jessica Rodrigues, says: “In Toronto, Italian restaurant Buca does a flat egg – like an omelette but just barely cooked and not folded – with stuff on top like Burrata and truffle, shrimp and candied lemon, or bay scallops and pancetta. I see a lot of eggs at Spanish tapas restaurants here as well – like fried quail with blood sausage. Eggs are so versatile.”
LA, meanwhile, has been ahead of the game in launching dedicated egg outlets. Eggslut arrived in 2013 and serves juicy sandwiches in warm brioche buns filled with such ingredients as seared Wagyu trip-strip, chimichurri, red onions and seasoned rocket topped with an over-medium egg.
The signature Slut is a coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar and served with a demi baguette. Now that’s food porn.