ONE of my favourite little luxuries is going out for breakfast. Whether it's at a hotel after an overnight stay, a pavement cafe or a greasy spoon, I take no greater pleasure than browsing a breakfast menu. White, brown or bloomer bread toast? Preserves, granola, dry cured back bacon. Those are words that float my boat.
It was over breakfast at the Clumber Park Hotel last weekend (wholemeal toast, chunky strawberry jam, fruit compote and yogurt) that my better half and I mused over where our favourite breakfasts had been.
We'd been to The Wolseley in London once. The elegant restaurant, a former car showroom on Picadilly, is almost as famous for its celebrity clientele as its breakfast. I remember, as I tucked in to my golden goblet of yogurt and nectarine and peach compote, that I was bitterly disappointed to see that the only other diners were fellow celeb hunters, looking equally downcast. Where on Earth was Elton John? Aside from that, the food and service was excellent. The homemade bread was moreish and I loved the silver jam server. On the other half of the table, the man reported that his omelette with jamon and gruyere was one of the best he'd tasted.
A similarly exquisite bread basket was devoured at Le Pain Quotidien in Santa Monica, California, while we hungrily waited for the nearby Border Grill to open for brunch. We'd kidded ourselves that we could bypass breakfast in favour of an 11.30am brunch, which incidentally we didn't make, having stuffed ourselves with bread, jam and cappuccino.
And while bread's on the agenda, or more to the point pastries, there were none better than those at the Yountville Inn, California, which has a daily delivery of goodies from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery.
Having sampled Keller's pastries there was little need to go to Bouchon in Las Vegas, so instead we opted for the oppulent Champagne breakfast at the Wynn where everything from enchilladas to sashimi and icecream was on offer and I discovered there's only so much Champagne you can drink so early (about half a glass).
The other half cherishes memories of bacon in Bangkok, which sounds more lewd (and/or more interesting) than it is. Crispy to perfection, he said. So good he'd craft a sandwich and then slip it into his rucksack for later consumption.
We both agreed that by far the most exotic location we'd enjoyed breakfast was in an open air restaurant overlooking the ocean in Phuket, while the least was in a grubby roadside shack called Donut Express in Orange County, California. Despite having to avert our eyes from the down-and-out diners, we gorged to our heart's content on sugared donuts, bagels and mango smoothies.
And the strangest breakfast was served on a train between Delhi and Agra. Presented with a little foil tray, it contained a battered shape and two chips.
Anyway, I've rambled for long enough so where do you think serves the best breakfast? Are you a fry-up person or do you prefer a more modest meal?