In my humble opinion, the makings of a successful veggie fry-up boils down to the unexpected trimmings. As with any form of vegetarian cooking, it’s important to get the combination of textures and contrasting flavours right (but there can’t be too much going on) and to keep the ingredients locally-sourced where possible (processed products need not apply). Whereas a farm-reared sausage might be the hero of a typical fry-up, like many folk out there, I believe that your average veggie sausage can often let the side down a little. I can tolerate them in certain circumstances. When pan-fried and served in a ciabatta with a generous amount of fried onions, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard or soaked in the juices of a red wine and green lentil casserole. Now I’m sure there are certain brands I haven’t tried that would prove me wrong, however, until I find that moist and flavoursome banger, then I think it’s best to forbid veggie sausages from the humble veggie fry-up. Unless you make your own from scratch, my advice to all out there, leave them out of the equation. There are many other ways to pep up a veggie brekkie. One place that has the right idea is at Frank’s Bar in Norwich, located in the historic Lanes.
Tipped as a “hip all-day hang-out”, these folk are purveyors of homemade and wholesome quirkiness, and they offer both a vegetarian and vegan option on their menu. Bravo. What a refreshing change to see a vegan option too. Personally I’m not that extremist.
On Sunday, to celebrate the move to our new city pad, me and my love, headed to Frank’s for our usual.
Frank’s Vegetarian Full English: Slow roasted vine tomato (sweet and succulent), mushroom stack with fried halloumi cheese (earthy, creamy and as you’d expect, slightly salted), sauté potatoes (freshly cooked and not greasy), herby baked beans on the side (from what I could tell they used freshly chopped basil), egg (fried or the way you like it) and some of the best granary toast I’ve encountered (gluten-free also available). But that’s not it. The star of the show is a generous portion of vegetarian black pudding made with lentils, barley wheat, oats and beetroot. Wowsers. Not a soya protein in sight. A small but worthy triumph on a plate. The bottle you see in the top left-hand corner is Frank’s homemade tomato sauce.
I love the Iittala crockery at Frank’s – created by Finnish designers and available from The Granary, a couple of doors up the road. Another option on the menu which caught my eye: Baked eggs with feta, spicy harissa, tomato and coriander sauce served with yoghurt on the side £6.95 (v) (gf). If the above hasn’t convinced you to try the vegetarian option next time, then maybe this will. Vegetarian options tend to be lower in saturated fat (oh yes) and they are more environmentally-friendlier. To grow plant-based products farmers use considerably less land, water and CO2 omissions than livestock farmers. So you’re helping your health and the planet. For more of the science stuff click here. Franks Bar. Lovely job. They serve morning gloriousness – that’s brunch to me and you – on Sundays only, between 10 – 12pm, although they do serve other daily breakfast options during the week. My only regret was that I didn’t have room for the incredible-looking American-style pancakes, thick and fresh out of the pan – served with yogurt and pecan. Next time. I’ll be back Frank. Is there actually a “Frank”? Shake that man’s hand.
Top Five Reasons to opt for Frank’s Veggie Brekkie:
1) Healthier: Contains less saturated than the meaty version. Fact. 2) Cheaper: Pocket £1.50 when you go for veggie. 3) Planet-friendly: Being plant-based it uses less land, CO2 and water. 4) Guilt-free: Because of all of the above, you can’t help but feel a little smug about your good work. 5) Fried Cheese: Fried halloumi people. Need I say more?