There is a decidedly decadent feel about travelling to mainland Europe on the Eurostar. With the Victorian gothic splendour of London St Pancras, shouts of greeting and farewell and trains coming in and out, it has an altogether more nostalgic and luxurious feel than shuffling through an airport worrying if your hand luggage is the right size.
Sitting below St Pancras’s magnificent vaulted ceiling has to be the ideal spot to start your journeys overseas. We, however, are merely heading into central London for a shopping trip. But the Northern Line can be quite an adventure in itself so we settle down for brunch with the air of Michael Palin readying himself for a new TV series.
Of course, all travellers need sustenance for their travails and while fizz is nice, it can’t quite fill that hole completely. Thankfully Searcys offers a substantial brunch menu with protein-packed eggs the star of the show to keep your energy levels high.
A map of central London by our side, we plot our routes while browsing the menu. It is a difficult choice, with the likes of coddled duck egg and Scottish smoked haddock and spinach sitting alongside classic offerings such as eggs Benedict and croque madame. You can also choose between Old Cotswold Legbar hen’s eggs, the orange-yolked Burford Brown, or a deliciously rich Clarence Court duck egg.
I’m hungry, however, and while healthy options appeal, especially the Quinoa porridge, I want to give the chef a challenge and so opt for a full English. After all, fried eggs have to be perfect – underdone and you get that horrible mucus on the top, while if they’re too firm, you can’t dip your toast into them. And let’s not go into the realms of crispy burnt bits… Many a happy holiday has been soured by a bad full English.
I needn’t have worried. The egg is perfect, oozing out over my Blythburgh streaky and back bacon, Cumberland sausage, Lake District black pudding and fried tomato (I forego the beans and mushrooms) to be mopped up with sourdough toast.
My fellow traveller, meanwhile, is even hungrier and pairs her indulgent and creamy eggs royale with light and fluffy buttermilk and blueberry pancakes topped with golden syrup. It is a strange combination, but does not last long enough once she is served to attract the taste police. “Gorgeous,” she declares, almost licking the plate.
To make sure we are well hydrated, we add orange juice and coffee to our order – together with a crisp glass of Laurent-Perrier Rose. Sated, it is all we can do not to order another glass and settle down for the morning, but the call of the wild is beckoning and we make our way to the underground.