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What makes the perfect fry up? Redbridge has the answers

Chef Isa Cegin cooks up a breakfast Chef Isa Cegin cooks up a breakfast

Saturday, March 8, 2014
3:00 PM

Asking people what constitutes a full English breakfast can be a sure fire way to stray into controversial territory.

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Black pudding or no black pudding? Chips or bubble and squeak? Negotiating these finer details could cause a rift in even the strongest of friendships and getting people to agree would be no mean feat.

Brother and sister team Shepnem and Tom Aygul Hanger, owners of Cafe at 104 in Tanners Lane, Barkingside, know that variation and meeting individual needs are the most important elements to creating the perfect breakfast.

“We have an option for everybody and we make sure we cater for everybody,” Shepnem explained.

“We try to keep the customers happy. We are always willing to provide whatever they need. Someone might order mash instead of chips. If there are any requests we are always happy to do that for somebody.”

The pair have owned the cafe for 11 years.

Magic nine

“The set breakfast has always been popular,” says Tom.

“We’ve added eggs Montreal [eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of ham] and eggs Florentine [with spinach instead of ham] over the past four to five years.

“They’re popular because they’re healthier and lighter.”

Asked if he had noticed any changes in breakfast habits over the years, he said that people had become more particular, possibly due to health reasons.

Some ask for the fat to be cut from their bacon, or for their breakfast to be cooked in a specific way.

“People are eating brown toast a lot and asking for no butter,” he said.

Shepnem also emphasised the importance of healthy options, saying “we try to keep up with healthy breakfasts, we try to grill a lot of our stuff as well”.

The magic nine of the English breakfast, according to the book The Breakfast Bible, is eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, potatoes (bubble and squeak is acceptable; it’s less clear cut about hash browns and chips) and toast.

But old school classics such as black pudding and bubble and squeak do not seem to sell as much in the cafe, according to Tom.

He explained that while some builders who come in still seem to like black pudding, most people ask to have it taken off their breakfasts.

Cafe at 104 is debuting a new menu in the coming weeks.

And while a lot of the food on offer will remain the same, the eggs will now be free range in order to maintain the taste and quality of the breakfasts.

There will also be healthy drink options added to the menu such as freshly squeezed orange and carrot juice, and a selection of smoothies – but never fear, the traditional fry-up is here to stay.

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