In order of posting.
1) JD Wetherspoons.
The Wattmeister is partial to a Full English Breakfast as a vital source of energy to fuel the furnace of his raging metabolism. The top of Muswell Hill is currently blessed with fifteen establishments geared up (forgive the poor pun) to serve his favourite morning meal.
A snippet of information, if a cyclist rides 60 kms at an average speed of 25 kms per hour, he/she will burn approximately 1500 calories which equates roughly to the calories contained in one Full English Breakfast.
The first review took place at JD Wetherspoon’s, The Mossy Well, which opened in October 2015 at the very apex of Muswell Hill. As one of the largest purveyors of breakfasts in the UK, by reputation offering great value for money, it seemed to be the place that all the others should be compared to.
Surroundings: spacious, airy pub. Cloud wifi.
Cost: Large Breakfast £4.79. Total cost inc. coffee £ 5.78
Content: 2 Sausages, 2 rashers bacon, baked beans, 3 hash browns, 1 half tomato, 1 large mushroom, 2 slices toast.
Lavazza filter coffee in mug: Unlimited refills until 2.p.m.
Comments: very big portion. Good range of condiments and relishes. Unfortunately the food was lukewarm at best. Hash browns quite unappetizing. Service good.
Score: 5 watts/10 watts.….would have scored much higher had the food been hot.
2) The Broadway Café
Part 2 of the Great Muswell Hill Full English Breakfast review took The Wattmeister to The Broadway Café at the top of Muswell Road close to Colney Hatch Lane.
Ambience: Caff experience. Plenty of natural light and no frills.
Cost: Breakfast Set 1 £7.00 including coffee, espresso/americano available.
Content: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 3 rashers bacon, 1 fried tomato, good portion of button mushrooms, 2 pieces of fried bread and 2 slices of toast.
Huge portion. Served hot off the griddle. Choice of condiments and relishes. No chance of going hungry. Very satisfying caff experience. Great value, very hard to fault. Service polite and respectful.
This breakfast will refuel you physically and mentally after a long bike ride.
Score: 9.5 watts/10 watts.
3) Jenny’s Diner
The Wattmeister is ashamed to confess that despite having lived in Muswell Hill for 25 years, he had never previously visited Jenny’s Diner on Muswell Hill Broadway. On 26th October 2015, he realised that this had been an astonishing oversight.
Ambience: Caff/diner experience. 1970s/80s music playing on the radio (The Wattmeister’s first heyday). Jenny’s wifi.
Cost: Full English Breakfast £6.65 including black americano coffee.
Content: 1 Sausage, 2 fried eggs, 2 rashers of bacon, copious beans and mushrooms, 1 whole tomato and a tasty hash brown. Choice of fried bread or toast… one whole slice in two halves. Excellent coffee all served hot.
Clean, tidy, busy and friendly. Lots of condiments and relishes. Had to wait a while to be served. Bike rack for two bikes directly outside. Absolutely corking value. Service good.
Solid choice for a lusty calorie infusion….good excuse to ride more miles…been back since this review.
Score: 9.5watts/10 watts
Over a testing fortnight in October and November of 2015, having visited three local establishments in pursuit of the Full English Breakfast experience, The Wattmeister preceded this visit with an early morning 48 kms/30 miles bike ride around the Outer Circle of Regents Park.
It was necessary to both burn a few unwanted calories and to work up an appetite for review number 4, Bill’s Restaurant, which is tucked away neatly in the corner of Muswell Hill’s sparkling new piazza.
Ambience: ‘L’ shaped restaurant/brasserie set back from main road. Light and airy.
Cost: Bill’s Breakfast £7.95, plus £1.00 for baked beans, plus £2.10 for black americano, plus discretionary 12.5% tip on bill which I asked to have removed in order to tip waitress cash. Total cost: £12.50
Content: 2 sausages, very crisp bacon slices, tomato with pesto, two eggs, 1 slice of toast, 2 mushrooms and a cup of baked beans.
The sausages were doing their own button mushroom impressions, they were tiny and I had the distinct impression they had been boiled, then grilled. The bacon was just the right side of being overdone. The Wattmeister likes tomatoes with pesto, it brings out the Fausto Coppi in him.
How to access the small portion of baked beans in a stonking hot metal cup? I know, knock it over with the knife! Coffee was tasty. Plenty of space outside for the bike. Service was good.
Nice atmosphere, but at the price, it is hard to argue that Bill’s offers as good value for breakfast as other establishments on the Broadway.
Score: 5 watts/10 watts
5) The Blue Legume
Let us go back to 24th November, 2015, the day of Wattmeisterling Numero Uno’s 24th birthday. The father has spent the early morning in Muswell Hill Broadway searching for a suitable present for his daughter. Beset by hunger, his faculties have begun to desert him.
Through happenstance he finds himself outside The Blue Legume, which is situated opposite the Pound Shop, The Wattmeister’s “go to” place for presents, and he decides to invigorate himself with breakfast.
Ambience: a calm mix of styles…bar/diner/eatery. Soft lighting.
Cost: Cumberland Sausage Breakfast. £6.00 including a black americano. Monday to Wednesday (this was a Tuesday).
Content: 1 large Cumberland sausage, ½ large tomato, lots of beans, 1 egg, plenty of mushrooms, 2 slices of brown toast, NO BACON.
OK, to be fair, The Wattmeister knew from the menu that there was no bacon included in any of the breakfasts, but it was still a difficult situation to process. However, due to the lovely atmosphere, great coffee, attentive service and good portion of food served on a hot plate, he feels that The Blue Legume did a sterling job of preparing him for part 2 of the Birthday Present Hunt. At six quid…outstanding value.
Score: 9 watts/10 watts
6) Muswell Hill Cafeteria
The top of Muswell Hill currently resembles a building site as two big residential developments are in process. The workers are well served by The Muswell Hill Cafeteria, which is situated within less than one pedal revolution of both developments.
Ambience: archetypal small caff with rickety table akin to the losing team’s ‘prize’ in TV’s ‘The Apprentice’.
Cost: £5.50 including black americano.
Content: 1 sausage, 2 slices bacon, 2 eggs, 2 hash browns, large portion of baked beans and 2 slices of toast.
A generous serving of hot food, something which next door neighbour, JD Wetherspoon failed to deliver. Coffee was OK, tiny premises lend a certain cosiness to the experience…helpful in combating a faint draught.
At the price this gaff offers super value for money and if you are ever in need of replacing calories lost in the process of executing climbing repitions on fearsome Muswell Hill, then look no further.
Score: 8.5 watts/10 watts.
7) The Coffee Cup
Within the 200m parade of shops bookended by Barclay’s Bank on one corner and Goldilocks hair salon on the other, you will find five establishments offering a form of Full English Breakfast. Perhaps the centre of the FEB universe?
Excited by this discovery, The Wattmeister popped into The Coffee Cup to try out their offering.
Ambience: the lighting is a bit harsh which gives a canteen feel to this coffee and cake parlour.
Cost: Full English £5.90 plus £2.20 for black americano.
Content: 1 sausage, 1 fried egg, 1 hash brown, 3 slices of bacon, 1 whole grilled tomato, 1 slice of toast, baked beans in a separate pot, acfew mushrooms, all served on a hot plate.
This was a good, solid breakfast with 3 bacon rashers….however because of the layout it felt like I was being observed from behind the counter. Only recently having learned to use cutlery, this made the experience slightly unsettling. Nevertheless, service was good and there was not much left on the plate.
Score: 8 watts/10 watts.
8) Crocodile Antiques
There is a large area dedicated to catering at the back of Crocodile Antiques on Muswell Hill Broadway. On this morning The Wattmeister’s busy schedule included a breakfast meeting with one of Muswell Hill Peloton’s strongest sprinters, The Lion King, the purpose of which was to discuss the club’s 2015 Christmas social event.
Therefore, the choice was made to sit upstairs and inside. However, firstly we were required to order, and pay in advance, at the downstairs till. Having completed the financial transactions, and being in credit, did not guarantee a great level of service.
Ambience: upstairs/downstairs layout each with a different feel. The upstairs parlour resembles an intimate, private reading room. Downstairs mimics a garden centre coffee shop, complete with decking, large parasols and table heaters.
Cost: Full English £10.50 including black americano coffee.
Content: 1 sausage, 1 slice bacon, 2 fried eggs, 1/2 grilled tomato, small portion of baked beans served in a little pot, fair portion of mushrooms, 1 slice of bread with 1 piece of butter.
Hmmmm. This was a small portion with no choice of sauces offered. Waitress was distinctly grumpy. The Lion King politely requested a second cup of tea, but was informed none too sweetly that he had to go back downstairs and repeat the ordering and paying procedure. A tiresome carry-on.
So in summary, a moderate portion of food at a comparatively high price with not much in the way of bonhomie or service from the staff. The room was nice.
9) Feast on the Hill
Having taken on approximately 12,000 extra calories, so far, in his selfless search for Muswell Hill’s best value Full English Breakfast, The Wattmeister’s lycra was at stretching point.
Some serious cycling would have to be done to burn off these excesses. Laps of Regents Park, countless hill climb repetitions of Swains Lane and several long sorties out into Hertfordshire with his Muswell Hill Peloton clubmates have helped him to maintain his svelte physique:
Resuming his mission, stomach rumbling, The Wattmeister found himself in Feast on the Hill, in Fortis Green Road.
Ambience: very pleasant, tea room/restaurant hustle and bustle, mix of shoppers, laptop gazers, eccentrics and breakfast reviewers. Feast wifi.
Cost: Full English £8.95 including black americano coffee.
Content: 1 sausage, 2 slices bacon, 1 half of grilled tomato, 1 fried egg, generous portion of baked beans, 2 light and fluffy hash browns, 1 medium sized mushroom, 2 slices of toast, choice of condiments and sauces.
The big question is: what happened to the other half of the tomato? TW never had the guts to ask. Never mind, this was a cracking breakfast served on a hot plate with good service in nice surroundings.
The Wattmeister normally eats like he cycles….fast and furious, but Feast on the Hill had a curious effect on the ageing baroudeur (definition: courageous cyclist), inducing him to pass the time in a leisurely manner.
Score: 9 watts/ 10 watts
Carluccio’s is situated in the very heart of Muswell Hill’s burgeoning, vibrant Full English Breakfast scene. As mentioned before, the parade of shops opposite Poundland and the Post Office is teeming with refuelling opportunities for the famished ultracyclist.
The establishment is one of a number of restaurants who are now catering from morning until night. Italy has great historical connections with cycle racing through the Giro d’Italia, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Lombardy, so The Wattmeister felt it appropriate to wear his finest Santini lycra for this visit.
Ambience: pleasant, casual, light and airy restaurant with good wifi.
Cost: Carluccio’s Breakfast Magnifica £9.95, including fresh juice and black americano.
Content: 1 sausage, thin slices of smoky pancetta, sautéed mushrooms, 1/3 of a grilled tomato, 2 fried eggs (free range), toasted Italian bread.
Still flummoxed by Feast on the Hill’s missing 1/2 a tomato, The Wattmeister was sent into a tizzy of consternation regarding Carluccio’s missing 2/3 of a tomato. This meal holds the lofty title of Carluccio’s Breakfast Magnifica, surely a full tomato would be proper and fitting in order to justify the magnificence of the label?
Moving on, in terms of aesthetics, my meal did not match the luscious photographic image on Carluccio’s website. However, it was a very tasty and nourishing breakfast in pleasant surroundings with personable service. Not the biggest portion, but does size matter?
In summary, very enjoyable. Could have sat there all morning. Size does matter to some extent.
Score: 8.5 watts/10 watts
Buoyed by the feeling of satisfaction that comes from performing an important public service, whilst simultaneously filling one’s stomach, The Wattmeister and his growing entourage of soigneurs and domestiques determined to visit Cilicia Mediterranean Café and Restaurant which is situated on the same parade of shops as Specsavers .
As an aside, in 2013, TW failed miserably in an attempt to obtain a 50% discount on some new spectacles despite only having the use of one eye. On a positive note, one does not require specs to order a Full English.
Ambience: small restaurant serving mezes and grills which has happily adapted to catering for the breakfast trade. Ever so slightly lacking in atmosphere at this early hour. Free wifi.
Cost: Full English Breakfast £5.95 including black americano.
Content: 1 sausage, 1 hash brown, 3 slices bacon, 1 fried egg, 1 whole grilled tomato, a generous portion of mushrooms, baked beans. Greek or Turkish flat bread.
JD Wetherspoons please take note. This is how to present a good quality, inexpensive HOT breakfast. Superb value for money, good service and extremely hard to fault. As the Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood might proclaim…..”I loved it!”.
Score: 9.5 watts/ 10 watts
12) Cherry Tree Café
Once upon a time, The Wattmeister used to write about cycling, with particular reference to the great characters of The Muswell Hill Peloton. For these pieces, Google analytics recorded a modest following…mostly friends, relatives and accidental hits.
When he started posting reviews of Full English Breakfasts in Muswell Hill, the analytics figures surged. Could it be the case that the public is more interested in food than cycling? This is a rompecabeza, …a puzzle which needs to be solved.
To wit, yesterday The Wattmeister cycled 200 kms or 125 miles in and around the Cotswold Hills in the company of Rapid Ben, Iron Mike, Pistol Pete, Toobies, The Outlaw and Baking Ben. It was mostly very cold and foggy, but a great group dynamic and, latterly, a smidgen of sunshine, helped to fashion a glorious day out.
In the process, we each burned approximately 4,800 calories which equates roughly to 3 x Full English Breakfasts.
Having therefore earned the right to restock the larder, The Wattmeister visited the tiny Cherry Tree Café on Muswell Hill Road situated in a small parade of shops at the top of Cranley Gardens.
Ambience: small, clean, tidy caff.
Cost: Full English Breakfast Set 2 £5.80 including black americano.
Content: 1 sausage, 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 2 hash browns, 1 fried egg, good portion of baked beans and 2 slices of toast.
This café has changed ownership a few times over the last decade. Chapeau to the new owners…this breakfast was an example of outstanding value for money. A generous portion, served hot with good coffee. Well worth the 300m walk down Muswell Hill Road if you are feeling peckish. No mushrooms or tomato, but black pudding as standard on the set 2 menu.
If you ever ride 200 kms in one go, then three of these babies will replace the burned calories.
Score: 9 watts/ 10 watts
13) Café in The Grove
The penultimate review of this enjoyable research took place al fresco at Ciro’s Café in the Grove, which is not situated on The Broadway, but in a small park called The Grove which is a very short stroll from the top of Muswell Hill.
The café is currently open from 9 a.m to 3 p.m Wednesday to Sunday, with breakfast served until midday, I think,….the owner is an idiosyncratic character.
Ambience: all tables are outside with cover for about 16 places. Heating and blankets are provided in winter. Fabulous views in an almost bucolic setting.
Cost: Full English Breakfast £8 including black americano.
Content: 1 sausage, 2 bacon rashers, generous portion of baked beans, 2 fried eggs, 1 grilled tomato, 1 slice toast, maybe a few olives, a hint of chopped and fried red onion garnished with a few drops of balsalmic vinegar.
A touch of Ciro’s Italian flair is the signature of this breakfast, note the balsalmic vinegar, red onion and olives. Rain or shine, it is a superb setting in which to take breakfast. Arrive on foot or by bicycle.
However, be warned, the proprietor can blow hot and cold. One day he will serenade clients with famous Italian arias, the next day he might be irritable , whinging and curmudgeonly.
The food on this occasion was very good, although I did not receive the warmest of welcomes having pitched up about 30 seconds before official opening time. If you detect a whisper of negativity, a chip on The Wattmeister’s shoulder perhaps, then it is not levelled at the food.
Score: 8.5 watts/10 watts
14) Côte Brasserie
For the final review of this casual, unaccredited series of calorie accumulating exercises, (such a flagrant contradictory use of the word), The Wattmeister paid a visit to Côte Brasserie which is sited on the very same parade of shops as Jenny’s The Coffee Cup, Carluccio’s, and The Blue Legume.
Note: as a member of Côte’s breakfast club, which is free to join and requires the passing of no personal information, The Wattmeister received a croissant shaped key ring fob (alas, inedible). He was now entitled to a 10% discount and a free cup of coffee.
Ambience: spacious brasserie in three level sections. Lots of room between tables. A sense of style. Free wifi.
Cost: Formule Breakfast £9.95 including black americano and fruit juice. A service charge of 12.5% is added to the bill. As a member of the Breakfast Club, a 10% discount was applied, so the final cost amounted to £10.07.
Content: 1 sausage, 2 slices of bacon, 2 free range eggs, 1/2 grilled tomato, portion of mushrooms, 2 slices of toast, fruit juice and a small jug of water.
Once again, The Wattmeister was presented with “The Mystery of the Missing Half of Tomato”, and, no baked beans. However, the fruit juice was a welcome addition and in all other respects Côte’s breakfast was a really good experience. This is the place to linger over the morning meal until it is time for lunch. Dismiss thoughts of burning calories, take a friend, a book or a laptop and hang out. Under the supervision of Ula, the service was excellent.
Score: 9 watts/10 watts