Full English

Jane asks:

Any suggestions as to where to grab a good old English breakfast in Greenwich and / or Blackheath?

Want to impress some Spanish friends and their 11-year old son, whose one reason for coming to London was for a dose of bangers, beans, eggs et al for breakfast.

The Phantom replies:

The caff that first comes to mind is GMT down Woolwich Road, in the same row as the Labour party shop (have you seen that scary new picture of Nick Raynsford? I think I preferred the last one where he at least looked bashful…) and opposite the new Turkish supermarket with all the fruit and veg outside – used to be Shiva’s).

I like this place because it’s not in any way tried to be anything it isn’t. It has bare brick walls with faded pictures of nothing in particular, decidedly nasty yellow and green moulded seating and a hand-painted cut-out chef outside. The food is what you’d expect and yes, the full English is very full. Sandwiches consist of half a loaf with your ingredient of choice inside, beverages are tea and (if I recall) instant coffee.

The Trafalgar Cafe down Trafalgar Road near Hardy’s Pub recently had a refurb, which seems mainly have been to turn the space upstairs into a flat and has resulted in a smaller, slightly more awkward eating space, but it still does traditional food, is still always full and still bustling. I seem to remember the sign saying it’s been around for about 50 years, but I’ll need to check that.

My next choice – and probably the one I’d actually take visitors to – is up at Blackheath Standard, Gambardellas. This has changed little since the 1960s except to expand next door. So the decor is classic 1960s mod one side and stuck in the 80s the other. Again, it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. And if you Spanish friends have ever heard of Squeeze, they may be impressed to know it all started here.

Over in Blackheath Village itself, the cafes tend to be somewhat more upmarket, so you’re not really going to get that full greasy-spoon experience, but that might not particularly distress your friends, who might be rather grateful for the sort of food Hand Made Food or Patisserie Jade dole out…

There are dozens of traditional, unreconstituted caffs in Greenwich, and they get more traditional as they get further out of the centre –  I’m sure everyone has their favourite – so expect a lot of other recommendations.

15 Comments to “Full English”

  1. Robert Number 16 says:

    It might be too far for you ,but try the Irish run caff in Lewisham (I think it is called Maggie`s)Past Tescos on right then its almost opposite the petrol station.Always full.

  2. JP says:

    What about the Golden Cafe in Greenwich High Road? Great grub, big portions, good value and better chances of a parking place than most of Greenwich.. JP

  3. Pete says:

    Another vote for Gambardellas here, a fantastic place and cheap as chips. The next door bit you refer to has not been in use for about a year though, it has been “under offer” for quite a while now but no sign of activity recently.

  4. P & D says:

    All of the other suggestions are good. If you want a ‘brunch’ rather than breaky, I’d suggest Rivington in Greenwich. Can’t beat a fry up and glass of bubbly.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Chapters in Blackheath do a great English breakfast in classy surroundings.

  6. The Sheila says:

    The Organic Cafe opposite the Picturehouse cinema in Greenwich is usually fairly good and offers some variety on the standard full English.

  7. Bobby says:

    I would recommend Maggies as already suggested by Lewisham station for the “Greasy Spoon Experience” or Chapters in Blackheath Village for the up-market experience.

  8. Matt says:

    I would definitely agree with the comment above on the Rivington Grill. Very large portions and some good alternatives (eggs benedict etc.). Also recommend the cafe next to blackheath train station. Neither are cheap but if its quality you are after its those two options. (Havent tried chapters… but will be the next one now.)

    I suspect that the full on grease experience might be too much for Europeans!


  9. Andrew says:

    I think the Deptford Deli does the best english breakfast around by miles. Much better than the Rivington (cheaper, better quality and bigger portions). Home made break and big field mushrooms. It’s delicious!

  10. Darryl says:

    A full English ain’t my thing, but the connoisseurs I know all plump for Maggie’s every time.

  11. Lizzie says:

    Not quite Greenwich, but a skip through the foot tunnel or a hop on the DLR gets you to Mudchute Farm park; where the cafe always used to do a fantastic organic breakfast in relaxed suroundings….but I understand it’s under new management. Anyone been? Are they still doing the full english?

  12. Steve says:

    Last I heard (two weeks ago) the cafe at Mudchute Farm was closed down until further notice.

  13. Gav says:

    I left Greenwich 22 years ago at the age of 18 but am loving the fact that Gambardella’s is still there. I used to grad an eg and bacon roll there on my way to work in the tea rooms in the park. Lovely.

  14. Indigo says:

    The caff near the fire station on the Woolwich Road (but on the other side of the road) has been there for years, looks clean and is very popular. The police seem to eat there, too.

  15. meirion says:

    Maggies – despite the joke mustard dispensers – every time