S&M Café, London

It’s not everyday that you get to eat at a place called S&M. And then you have to explain to people that it’s not as kinky as it sounds, as it actually stands for sausage and mash. S&M Café is a local chain in London that specializes in “great British grub,” and we were there specifically for one of their breakfasts. More specifically, a Full English Breakfast.

S&M Café

S&M Café

I’m told that you can usually get the full English breakfast experience at most pubs, but this restaurant was recommended to us by a friend and their Spitalfields location was near where we were staying, so it made a great spot for us to grab some food before heading off for sightseeing for the day. Customer service was fast and extremely friendly – our waiter joked around with us every time he came around to our table.

We were there in the morning so we only saw the breakfast menu, but a quick glance at their regular menu posted on their website shows that they have a number of other traditional British fare available, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options.

The menu

The menu

Of course, the first thing that we ordered was the Great British All Day Breakfast for those in the group who were new to the experience. Toast, bacon, sausage, bubble and squeak, egg, baked beans, mushrooms, and tomatoes filled the plate to bursting.

Great British All Day Breakfast

Great British All Day Breakfast

Now, I have eaten full English breakfasts before (although then it was called full Scottish breakfast because it was in Edinburgh, and those ones had the option of adding haggis, vegetarian haggis, and/or black pudding), and I knew how greasy those plates can get, so I was more than happy to try something different. I opted for the Vegetarian All Day Breakfast, which included all the same items except that it replaced the bacon and sausage with Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages. (I think it was the cheese that convinced me that it was the right way to go.)

Vegetarian All Day Breakfast

Vegetarian All Day Breakfast

I have to say that although the regular sausages and the bacon were good, my Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages were spectacular. Crunchy on the outside, they had the texture of cornbread on the inside and great mix of leek and quite mild cheese flavours.

Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages

Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages

The bubble and squeak was a mixture of mashed potatoes and vegetables, including squash blossoms.

bubble and squeak

bubble and squeak

We stuffed ourselves silly, and rolled out of the restaurant while complaining that we were too full to walk.

condiments - mustards, ketchup and HP sauce

condiments - mustards, ketchup and HP sauce

S&M Café
various locations in London, England
www.sandmcafe.co.uk

S & M Café on Urbanspoon

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Studio Café, Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a 24-hours kind of place, especially when you are on the Strip. And to meet those needs, it seems like every major hotel has at least one restaurant that is open 24-hours a day. For the MGM Grand, that place is the Studio Café.

We went here for breakfast one day and came away quite impressed. I was expecting the food to be more of the greasy spoon variety, but what we got was huge portions, tasty food and an interesting menu with a mix of basics and gourmet items.

The toast was admittedly nothing special, but I decided to take a photo of it because of the paper.

Studio Café, MGM Grand

Studio Café, MGM Grand

I was tempted to order one of the day’s specials – a lobster omelette – but instead chose one off their regular menu, the Ragin’ Cajun Omelette ($14.00 US). Filled with andouille sausage, green peppers, beans and a spicy shrimp gumbo, it started off my morning with a bit of a kick. On the side was a giant hash brown –  just thick enough to give a good balance between the crispy outside and the soft potato inside.

Ragin Cajun Omelette

Ragin' Cajun Omelette

Our other order was one of the day’s specials – a Greek Omelette ($13.00) served with tzatziki, feta cheese, pitted olives, tomatoes and a very mild amount of jalapeños. I hadn’t expected to like this omelette as much as I did because I was unsure about how the Greek flavours would taste with the eggs, but it was a rather refreshing dish with lots of vegetables. This dish also came with the same delicious hash browns. (Apologies for the crappy lighting of the photo.)

Greek Omelette

Greek Omelette

*Disclaimer: My meal here was discounted because of a comp. Saying that, the prices were relatively reasonable for a place on the Strip and I would have been happy to pay full price for this meal.

Studio Café
MGM Grand, Las Vegas
www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/studio-cafe.aspx

Studio Cafe (MGM Grand) on Urbanspoon

Urban Diner, Edmonton

A friend and I popped over to the Urban Diner for brunch on the weekend. The brunch menu isn’t large, but I’ve always found the food to be delicious.

I normally do not eat eggs benedict. Generally, I find hollandaise sauces to be too creamy and too rich. The first time I had brunch here, I had a craving for eggs benedict for some odd reason and fell in love with the Urban Diner’s version.

eggs benedict on French bread and diner potatoes

eggs benedict on French bread and diner potatoes

They give you just enough hollandaise to cover the eggs, but not so much that it drowns everything. The sauce itself is slightly tangy, which allows the taste to cut through some of the creaminess. The ham is sliced thinly enough that you can cut it with a butter knife, but thick enough so that there is plenty to chew. The eggs can be ordered soft, medium or hard; I prefer a soft or medium so that the yolk can soak into the bread. And instead of an English muffin, the eggs are served on a slice of French bread. This dish also comes with a very tasty side of diner potatoes fried with leeks.

My dining companion ordered two eggs with sourdough toast, jam (that I suspect is home-made but did not get a confirmation of this), sausages and diner potatoes.

eggs, sausauge and toasted sourdough bread

eggs, sausauge and toasted sourdough bread

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Kaya toast

Kaya is one of the few Malaysian foods that I had quite often when I was young. I remember it being incredibly sweet and as a result hadn’t eaten it in years, but a few months before my Malaysia trip I had a craving for some kaya and picked up a jar from a local Asian grocery store. Kaya is basically a creamy coconut jam, and surprisingly enough it doesn’t seem as sweet as I remember. It still packs a punch though, so I found that a little goes a long way. You can eat it on crackers, but in my opinion the best way is on toast, like any other regular jam.

Kaya toast
For best results, spread a thin layer of kaya on slices of bread, and toast in a broiler. This warms up the kaya as well as makes the bread crispy. Or alternately, toast the bread in a toaster and add the kaya afterwards.

Like any jam, you can of course make kaya yourself. Or be lazy like me and buy it from the store.

Ok, I know this isn’t much of a recipe. I was originally going to just do a post about kaya only, but when I saw the 15 minute recipe contest on Steamy Kitchen, I couldn’t resist.