Pleasure in Plain Sight


The English are obsessed with their tea and toast. As George Orwell declared in Down and Out in Paris and London, the daily “tea and two slices” was a necessity even for the homeless.

For breakfast at Fuller’s Hotel, I had 5 triangle slices of toast with butter, Marmite and jam, with the most perfect cup of tea. English breakfast, not too acidic or strong, perfectly tempered with a refined slog of milk. It was just so smooth and creamy and perfect, I could drink gallons. Drinkability quality – like drinking water, gulpable.

As for toast, gosh what a marvelous invention; warm, crisp yet soft and airy, toothsome, punctuated by thick, creamy and slightly tangy butter. Then Marmite gives a salty, sticky yeasty zing to it all. Like salty honey. It actually tastes very similar to Maggi sauce, or Worcestershire sauce, or just soy sauce. (Try soy sauce on a fried egg, with a tiny teaspoon of sugar – Chinese style!)

For the rest of my breakfast, I had lovely French yogurt and white cheddar (or Comté) with real crunchy crystallized bits inside (the sign of real aged cheese) and yummy tiny pastries. I had a mini pain aux raisins – my teeth split the skin of sweet, soft raisins and I could hear the audible crisp of flaky pastry, while luscious cream pleasantly enveloped my mouth, and oozed and crept around everything else – perfect warm custard. Then I finished it all off with 2 free-range poached eggs.



Categories: Uncategorized


Ivy Dai is a chef, food writer and food TV host. The California native is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles and has trained with renowed pastry chefs at Hediard and Lenotre in France.


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