I seldom (though by no means never) write about breakfast. When it comes to your wakey wakey eggs 'n' bacey there's really very little that separates the fantastically good from the dreadfully bad and even the most talented of writers - which I naturally do not pretend to be - would have a hard job of making something as quotidian as, say, boiled eggs and soldiers sound exciting (Nigel Slater's tear-jerking food memoir Toast being a notable, must-read exception). That said, I think it's important to recognise places that do what they do well, and Hoxton Grill does an extremely decent breakfast.
Located in the lobby of the ultra-hip Hoxton Hotel on Great Eastern Street, Hoxton Grill is an all-day affair opening at dawn's crack for brekkie and closing only when the last hotel resident or asymmetrically-coiffed visitor has disappeared into the night. It's visually appealing with ample red leather banquettes (echoing its first-cousin-once-removed, Dean Street Townhouse), dark wood furniture and the bare brick walls considered de rigeur for this part of town. The breakfast menu reflects the style of the lunch and dinner offerings, namely familiar Brit and European staples done stylishly and well at premium but still good-value prices.
On the first of two recent visits, both with my sister (who, incidentally, makes a Full English of such stupendous quality that any restaurant would be proud to serve it) I tried the eggs Benedict royale, which were excellent - good eggs and muffins, lovely sharp Hollandaise and ample butter-soft slices of delicious salmon. On visit two, needing something salty and substantial to counter an unexpectedly severe hangover, I wolfed down a plateful of superb corned beef hash, using the superfluous but very welcome toast it came with to make a sandwich of the accompanying fried egg. Sis on both occasions ordered and enjoyed creamy scrambled eggs on toast with bacon, declaring it all good except, first time around, for the unnecessary sprinkling of chives (which she likes about as much as Reeves & Mortimer's mate Les).
Service is efficient, fast and nicely formal, respecting the likelihood that valuable business might be being conducted over the granola and fruit platters. It's a nice contrast to the forced over-mateyness which blights so many of the area's eating spots. The price reflects the quality, location and attention to detail - tea is served in smart individual silver pots with strainers, juices are freshly squeezed from primo fruits - but is far from expensive; on both occasions our bill came to about £12 each including food, tea, juice and 12.5% service.
My time with my sister is limited and therefore precious; our breakfast get-togethers came about as a way of making sure we see each other on her increasingly less frequent days working in London. It follows that where we spend that time has to be somewhere a little special, that adds a sense of occasion to the otherwise fairly mundane practice of breaking our fast. After several trials and errors, I do believe we've found it.
Hoxton Grill, 81 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU Tel: 020 7739 9111 http://www.hoxtongrill.com/