The 10 best breakfasts

IHOP's Butterscotch Rocks Pancakes - that's not ice cream, it's butter!

IHOP's Butterscotch Rocks Pancakes - that's not ice cream, it's butter!


Although not strictly living up to its name, the American chain, International House Of Pancakes is a national institution for a reason. The speed of service, the 1,421 branches and the sheer quantity of food they can squeeze onto a plate, all make for breakfast venue to be revered. Whether you fancy pancakes, a burger, shrimp, steak or sugar drenched French toast – it’s all here and freely available for a modest price. Popular with many, including the older generation – who love a free coffee refill!

Last night’s takeaway

Whilst leftovers are always a welcome next day treat, none is more welcome than takeaway leftovers. Curries really are the gift that keep on giving, appearing to taste so much nicer the morning after the night before. The same is true of Singapore noodles, whose main strength, by being a complete package, is matched by the biryani. Reducing breakfast to a one-container, one-step, no washing up, joy.

Mr Jones' breakfast (courtesy of

Mr Jones' breakfast (courtesy of

Fry Up

The constituents of a fry up are a bit like musical notes, each have their own qualities and can be put together in so many ways. Each combination has a different feel and is suitable for different times. I favour a sausage, bacon, egg, grilled tomatoes, black pudding and fried bread combo, forsaking the jazz-looseness of beans or mushrooms. All tied together with the strict 4/4 rhythm of tomato sauce. I feel strongly that there is no real place for chips, nor the Johnny-cum-lately that is hash browns, in the trad fry up. The addition of bread, in either it’s toast or fried varietal, provides ample carbohydrate.

Eggs Benedict

Traditionally a poached egg, atop ham and an English muffin, smothered in Hollandaise, it has as many slight variations as it does restaurants that serve it. Truly delicious, mainly down to the Hollandaise, which is to butter, what mayonnaise is to oil.

Cheap bread? Check. Cheap sausage? Check? Cash & Carry sauce? Check.

Cheap bread? Check. Cheap sausage? Check? Cash & Carry sauce? Check.

Sausage in roll

Whilst in most foods there is a direct correlation between the best quality ingredients and best possible product, there is always an exception. This is the exception. I don’t want artisan bread, nor do I require hand-made exceptional sausages and, Heaven forbid, you slap Heinz tomato ketchup on it! I want a small white baguette, crispy in a chewy way. Re-heated (pref microwaved) halved, non-descript sausages, all topped off with a thin, acrid, vinegary tomato sauce. Then I want the whole lot cut in half, wrapped in paper and popped in a white paper bag. Sometimes I go deluxe and have cream cheese in it.

Fried leftover pasta

Yes, you can reheat pasta in the microwave, and you get a perfectly edible reward. But who wants ‘perfectly edible’, when you can have ‘ridiculously delectable’? Heat a frying pan with a jolt of olive oil, then add your fridge-cold pasta. After 30 seconds give it a good prod to separate all the pasta – you’re looking for an even layer, then leave for 3-4 minutes. After you have that crisp, brown edge to the pasta, toss in pan to ensure all sides become the same. Serve with an heroic pile of grated parmesan, salt, pepper and crackers, for contrast.

Not sure what's more curious, the cinnamon or the level of sugar?

Not sure what's more curious, the cinnamon or the level of sugar?

Curiously Cinnamon

First introduced into the UK, through Nestlé’s joint partnership with General Mills, under the original US name Cinnamon Toast Crunch, then changed to Cinnamon Grahams – in an attempt to tie in with stablemate Golden Grahams. Then someone obviously mentioned to the powers that be, that no one in England really has any affinity to Golden Grahams, so… they called them Curiously Cinnamon! That aside they are squares of wheat and rice, flavoured vaguely of cinnamon and absolutely saturated with sugar. They make Frosties look like Bran Flakes and have no right to be eaten at breakfast – that is what makes them so good.


I love porridge. No, I’m not Scottish and no, I don’t mean the stuff sold in tubs for £3 at well-to-do London sandwich shops. I mean the stuff in a packet that you stir, bubbling on the stove, in saucepans. I find a great deal of variation in porridge, and it may not be a surprise to know that I have a preference – in fact it’s so much a preference, that I won’t eat any other! Half Scott’s Original porridge oats, half Jordan’s Conservation Grade porridge oats, half semi-skimmed milk, half water and salt. All cooked up, cooled, topped with Demerara sugar and a moat of cold semi-skimmed milk.

Drink with impunity, for this awaits tomorrow.

Drink with impunity, for this awaits the morning after.

Double Sausage & Egg McMuffin (hash brown, no egg)

The McDonald’s Egg McMuffin was invented by Herb Peterson, in 1972, as a poor man’s version of Eggs Benedict. And that is exactly where it should stay. The Double Sausage & Egg McMuffin on the other hand, is a hangover-battling beast of a different colour. Never has grease been held in such a handy, quease-quenching package.  I recommend replacing the rubbery egg puck with the much more tasty hash brown, with a full BBQ sauce to cement it all together.

Turkish bread toast

Ask yourself, are you a takeaway drunk or a toast drunk? Do you queue at the kebab shop or do you reach for the loaf, when you get home? It’s a measure of its greatness, that toast can be the last thing you eat before bed and the first thing you consume when you rise.  Obviously different breads produce different toasts, it’s not rocket science! My ultimate bread for toast is Turkish bread, I’m not entirely sure if it is actually from Turkey, all I do know is that takings in Sydney’s cafés would halve if Sydneysiders couldn’t get their fix of Turkish bread toast and Vegemite to go with their flat whites.

5 comments on “The 10 best breakfasts”

  1. erin's comment - added on 7th of August, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Where is the DIY museli with coconut flakes and brown linseeds served with a splash of rice milk?

  2. MissAbs's comment - added on 7th of August, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    People only eat that when they’re on a health kick, don’t they? It’s not normal otherwise. Saying that, this is a high fat boys list. Smoked salmon on brown bread?! Kippers with a lemon chive butter? Homemade pancakes… there are gaps here, Mr Ben.

  3. StevieR's comment - added on 10th of August, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Pleased that you didn’t favour any of those namby-pampy continental ‘breakfasts’ – endless bread, ham and cheese, anyone? Having said that, you really ought to have included bircher muesli in that list – it’s the king of healthy breakfasts…

  4. Tom Eagle's comment - added on 18th of August, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Steve, call a Jamon Serrano, Tomato, Olive Oil and Garlic sandwich namby-pamby to its face if you’re man enough at 8.30am. I don’t think you are.

  5. filipino girl's comment - added on 6th of August, 2012 at 3:24 am

    IHOP – always IHOP – the best breakfast ever! 🙂