Archive for the ‘Full English – the big idea’ Category

Dangerous Dave in full effect!

For those that know me and have been following Full English’s somewhat stuttering birth the good news is that we are finally making real progress.

The basement issues that have plagued us since day one are fully fixed – everything is dried out and as clean as a whistle.

We had a full week of shop fitting and it is finally starting to resemble a restaurant in there!  We’ve even got rid of the lurid green front which was a real pivotal moment for me.

So, when are we opening?  Still not entirely sure…  They are talking about retanking and the basement while we still have some issues with the electrics – I doubt it will be this side of Christmas but you never know…


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All this hiatus has given me time to work on another project, The Web Spinner, a browser based online html and CSS builder.

It’s a basically a web application, or cloud based wysiwyg application for making editing and building complex websites a breeze.

A bit of a depature but its a very exiciting project that takes me back to my previous life – check it out if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

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“I’ve got the deep shit…”

So, I’m the proud owner of a mid-sized cafe/restaurant/diner in Highbury.  We picked up the keys yesterday after a farcical day of builders left stranded with no work to do and too many trips to Travis Perkins than is good for any man.

Hooray! Rob’s finally up the ladder!

Problem is, when we finally got in the basement was flooded with 10k gallons of water – the hunt was soon on for a sub pump and wellies to get to the bottom of it.

My approach to this whole project is to remain calm, focused and determined – I’m now in control of my own destiny – so I didn’t panic and instead concentrated on the job in hand.  The water was soon pumped out and any remaining residue was scooped out with a dustpan and buckets.

Off I trotted to Wickes (anything for a change of scene) and on my return I was presented with said dry basement as full as it was that morning.  Pumping the water into the drain outside the restaurant simply refilled the clearly broken drainage system which in turn refilled the basement.  Bugger.

Bugger – the water’s back…

So the council promise they will come out and fix it but in the meantime I’m left with an all mighty cleaning job and the nasty smell of standing water permeating the whole building.

Ah well, at least my bottle of Neagles Rock from Yapp Bros. turned up – calm,  focused, determined, pissed…

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Menu run through No1 today – up at 6.30 and 2 sittings at 11 and 1pm (although we only did 15 covers).

Today was all about breakfasts – there will be a much more varied menu when we open  -don’t think I explained that very well.  

Think it basically went well although I’m yet to have feedback.  Some food was late and the Bloody Marys were rubbish but I think everything was hot, looked nice and tasted good.

Thanks to all for attending and Ash (http://www.a-mphotography.com) for the excellent pics of the food and proceedings.

the cafe


We turned the our bedroom into Full English for one day.  Michaela had the eggy bread with bacon  – sorry it was sooo late – she’s eating for two bless her.  Charlotte ruled it as front of house.


guest bacon


We had a smoked and a green bacon on today – smoked was most popular by about 3:1


bloody mary with celery


Deb’s Bloody Mary looks nice but apparently it lacked flavour and kick – I don’t like BMs so I’ve got no reference point.  Thankfully little Ben is on hand with his refined buds…


smoked salmon and muffin 


Mmm – really nice, firm smoked salmon with scrambled and muffins.  Won’t be cheap but the quality of the salmon is excellent.


full english breakfast 


The Full English – forgot the vine toms which would have added to the overall effect.  Forgot to butter the toast too…


ulster fry


The Ulster Fry – quickly becoming a favourite – I L.O.V.E farls. But poached eggs are def the hardest of the breakfast staple. You have to watch them like hawks and different eggs from the same batch react completely differently  – some go into lovely tight shapes, the others spread through the poaching water and look awful. 

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Nice article on London Review of Breakfasts – Op-Egg: Solving the breakfast class divide

The gist being that the classic greasy spoon bangs out a disciplined breakfast – quick, reliable with kitchens run like a Nelson ship – but the quality is dubious, esp. in the meat department. The nouveau cafés strive to give you the name of the porker your rasher came from and hand crafted breads from God’s kitchen but haven’t got a clue how to cook it and are too lazy and posh to really care.

The driving inspiration for Full English is Simple English Food.  As someone who is interested in design and no doubt a bit of a sucker for things verging on the poncey I hope that we don’t slip into the design-over-substance black hole.

No doubt LRoB will let us know if we do!

PS – here’s a latest impression of the shop front.  Should I be scruffing it up a bit?!

Full English façade


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If you’ve got any comments, questions or queries drop me a line.

I’m currently seeing suppliers of English quality produce (especially if its local to the London area) – if you fit that bill let me know.

Want to work at Full English – I’m looking for chefs with 1 to 3 years experience who are obsessed with quality English food and who want to work with a small North London company that really care about what they produce – get in touch with a C.V. We are also looking for a front of house team – especially if you live in the Highbury / Stoke Newington area.

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Hmm – difficult post this…

Full English is (or will be when we open) a restaurant/diner in North London* serving classic, simple, brilliantly sourced English food and drinks throughout the day.

With a name like that we will of course be famous for our breakfasts and weekend brunches but we will also focus on English salads, pies and other main courses.

As new restauranteurs in a small unassuming site, the emphasis will be on quality and simplicity.  Daily lunch specials for those who work in the area, healthy options for the local mothers and their entourage, short evening menus and hot takeaway pies in our own 100% recyclable packaging and the best breakfast this side of the Wolsley.

By churning our own butter, curing our bacon and baking all our own bread and pies from scratch we hope to inject some real passion and quality into London dining outside of Zone 1.  


Mock up of our shop front (using The Old Dairy, Crouch Hill in this instance)


James Law – who’s he then?

I’m the guy behind Full English – the interior designer (with lots of help from my friend Sarah), the graphic designer, the chef (to start with anyway) and the barista.  Driven by a passion for food and a burning desire to run my own business, Full English is the culmination of a life time of eating and dreaming about how I would do it given the chance.

*I’ll update the venue when we’ve signed the lease – don’t want to jinx it

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