Bangkok has a growing number of reputable spots to enjoy an authentic English breakfast. While I spend most of my time chowing down on Thai fare – this web site is testament to that – well, I can’t help where I come from, and sometimes I hanker after some greasy that leaves me in a coma afterwards. Among a number of spots to tuck into a full English is Ekkamai’s London Pie, a British style café with a focus on home baked pies and a selection of English breakfasts.
Just a short walk or motorbike ride from Ekkamai station on the Skytrain’s Sukhumvit line, this is a far more nicely designed, aesthetically pleasing café than any I’ve been to in the UK. Seating is limited and it is conceivable that it gets pretty busy of a weekend mid-morning. As well as all day breakfasts, pies and a selection of other meals to eat in – including burgers, sausages and mash and, perhaps bizarrely, fish fingers – London Pie offers take-away and, through FoodPanda, home delivery services. In-store and online you can also buy a selection of fresh and frozen goods including sausages, bacon, pork pies, sausage rolls and apple pies.
The stars of the show have to be the all-day London Pie (195 baht) and Big Ben breakfasts (285 baht), the latter with its three sausages, two rashers of bacon, two fried or scrambled eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, has browns and two slices of thick, homemade toast (with none of the hideous sweetness found in commercially produced Thai bread). This breakfast is a just manageable monster, and incredibly satisfying. The sausages have the perfect balance of flavour without being too overly spiced for breakfast, and the bacon is just on the right side of crispy. My fried eggs looked a little uniform and characterless in shape, having clearly been fried in egg rings – I like fried eggs to be oddly shaped and sporting unintentionally crispy edges, but to be fair these were perfectly cooked in the same way as they are in any self-respecting British café.
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I also love mushrooms, perhaps my favourite component of a fried breakfast beside the sausages, and I like a lot – but even for someone with lower standards than mine, the portion of mushrooms on my breakfast was on the stingy side. I ordered an extra portion, but even this was on the small side – perhaps understandable given imported mushrooms don’t come cheap in Bangkok. The only other addition I would welcome seeing on the menu is fried bread as an alternative toast – again, my poison of choice for the ultimate in sinful fry-ups, but sadly lacking here. Nonetheless, these are tiny slights on an otherwise fantastic breakfast, and one that represents great value for the size of the plate. It also comes with a mug of hot tea, while a kids’ breakfast eggs or beans on toast, and DIY breakfast sandwiches are also on offer.
The other dish we tried, a hearty New Zealand Angus beef burger (230 baht), was well sized and seasoned, and served with thick cut chips. Service was prompt and attentive. If I am to name one small thing that irritated me, it would be the inability of the staff to recognise a non-Thai customer speaking Thai to them, but this isn’t a trait solely of London Pie. This is Thailand, and I’ll speak Thai whether I’m at a somtum stall on the street or in a British style café. If I spoke rudimentary or particularly poorly pronounced Thai then I would understand but – not by my own estimation, but by Thais who compliment me on it (and I don’t say this for the benefit of my own ego, either) – I speak decent Thai that I use on a daily basis and which is understood largely without exception.
For a waitress to continue to address me in English after several exchanges where she has already established that I speak enough Thai for us to manage, is something that I find a little insulting. It is, however, simply a case of the widespread case of Thais seeing a white face and listening for English – and simply not hearing or understanding anything else that is said, correct or otherwise. But maybe it’s gripe only I have – and, in fairness, my Thai dining companion had to repeat several of his own requests in Thai before they were understood, so maybe the real problem with this particular member of staff wasn’t the one I identified.
Service dilemmas aside, though, London Pie is an excellent place to tuck into a tasty and authentic, on the whole generously portioned, and well priced English breakfast, or one of a suite of other dishes. The café is located between Ekkamai Soi 4 and 6, and is open daily from 9am until 9pm.