What the world needs is more baked beans


Would the world be bearable without kimchi? Quite probably.

Tolerable without quinoa, sushi, foie gras or fillet steak? You bet.

Without Heinz Baked Beans?

Now you’re just being stupid. That’s a ridiculous idea.

No-one in their right senses could envisage a world without toast turned squidgy by baked beans, the sauce mingling with melted butter.

And a breakfast minus Heinz Baked Beans is as incomplete as Boris Johnson without a nauseating sense of his own importance and relevance.

Which is why my heart leapt with joy when I looked at the menu of a cafe in Bristol Street and saw them specified as a component of their full English breakfast.

English Breakfast Club

It leapt again when the menu at the ponderously-named  English Breakfast Club @ Craig’s Cafe also mentioned Lashford’s sausages and free range eggs.

Here, I thought, was a place that cared about the quality of ingredients.

And that’s far from a given when it comes to breakfast.

I’ve eaten fried breakfasts at places ranging from humble greasy spoons and modest pubs to posh hotels and been disappointed by sausages with the taste and texture of sawdust-filled dildos.

But here, tucked away on an attractive row of niche shops and businesses close to the city centre, is a bit of a gem.

It’s an attractive light space – stripped wooden floor, light-topped tables and moulded plastic stools of various colours.

The artwork and memorabilia on the walls, and choice of background music, made me think the owner may well have been (and might still be) a mod.

That being as it may, he’s certainly created a likeable business.

English Breakfast Club

The £8.50 I spent there on a full English and mug of tea was the most fun I’ve had for under a tenner since I paid Richard McComb £9 to dress as Shirley Temple and gambol through the Bullring singing Animal Crackers.

Bacon was thickly cut and flavoursome, though from a personal perspective I’d have preferred it crisper.

Two substantial Lashford’s bangers were good and meaty.

There was nicely crumbling black pudding, mushrooms, a roasted tomato and a runny fried egg.

Half encircling it lay the baked beans, adding sweetness, savour and moisture.

Two thick chunks of crusty bread toasted so light golden came alongside, together with hash browns.

And a mug of tea was large enough (and strong enough) to satisfy the hairiest-arsed builder.

The English Breakfast Club also serves sandwiches, vegetarian options, omelettes, porridge, pancakes and brunch and lunch dishes.

And craft beers, too, apparently.

The English Breakfast Club @ Craig’s Cafe

86 Bristol Street, Birmingham B5 7AH. 0121 792 5646.