The fry up is quite a difficult meal to get right mainly because every individual likes each item cooked or presented a specific way. For me if the perfect fry up was placed before me but the environment wasn't right or I didn't like the service then I would most likely not enjoy the experience. For this reason I score each establishment on 6 different section that make up the overall score. So what things do I look for on my perfect fry up experience then? Here goes..
Upon entering - I want the place to be warm, friendly, traditional and generally somewhere I feel comfortable as soon as I walk through the door. I want to be able to clearly see a menu be it on a wall or on the table and know where the cutlery and condiments are placed, a good example of this can be found at The Street Cafe.
Service - I'm looking for friendly, helpful and efficient staff who take the time to chat but leave you alone whilst eating, if you want to swap a few items around or switch from toast to fried bread it is not a problem. A good example of this can be found at Buttercross Tearooms.
Contents - Sausage, bacon, black pudding, fried egg, hash brown, fried bread, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and bubble & squeak are what I want. I am not interested in chips and toast or bread and butter is welcome but not essential to me. Many places offer most of these items but one place that got it badly wrong has to be Lindens Guesthouse my inspiration for starting this blog.
Presentation - I want to see a nicely cooked work of art placed before me that has been cooked and presented by somebody who is passionate about what they serve to their customers. I don't have a problem with beans touching the eggs but make sure those yolks are intact. Harty's Diner are the kings of presentation so far.
The food - I'm looking for a good quality butchers sausage that is cooked evenly all the way round and not split, good quality smokey bacon that is not over crispy but also not under cooked. Black pudding with a nice coarse texture that is crispy around the edge and soft but not too dry in the middle. I want to see perfect fried eggs with a nice runny yolk intact but not snotty on the outside. Fried bread needs to be golden in colour, crisp and shatter when you cut through it, not dripping with oil though. Hash browns should be golden crisp on the outside and soft inside but never overcooked and spongy. I much prefer tinned tomatoes that are intact and not surrounded by a sea of juice, real tomatoes are ok but only if they taste nice, there is nothing worse than a hard tasteless tomato. Mushrooms can be small or portobello but juicy and full of flavour please and definitely not tinned. I want my beans served nice, hot and stodgy. A nice homemade bubble & squeak is always a welcome addition too. If toast or bread is served it needs to be white and buttered to the edges. Harty's Diner again demonstrate this perfectly!
Value for money - I'm not looking for the cheapest price in this category, if I spend £8 on a fry up a place can still score highly here. It is all about finding good service in a great environment and being served a well presented fry up with the quality of the ingredients being reflected in the price. So although not a fan of economy sausages if i pay around £4 for the fry up I will most likely expect them to appear, if however I am paying over £6 then I will be expecting a decent butchers sausage. Some places do really well in this section though as you end up getting a lot of decent food at a much cheaper price than you would expect as The Orange Tree demonstrated.
Overall - Everything above is taken into account and the average of all the scores becomes the final score.