Searching for the best veggie fry-up in town

Sunday mornings best spent brunching.

Sunday mornings are best spent brunching – slowly.

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.

Frank's Bar. Lovely Job.

Frank’s Bar. Lovely Job.

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.

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I like the selection of board games and second-hand books here.

On Sunday, to celebrate the move to our new city pad, me and my love, headed to Frank’s for our usual.

I love Norwich on Sundays. It's like stepping back in time.

I love The Lanes on Sundays. It’s like stepping back in time.

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.

Frank's Full English - Vegetarian.

Frank’s Full English – Vegetarian.

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.

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This picture doesn’t quite do the dish justice. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

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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?

4 thoughts on “Searching for the best veggie fry-up in town

  1. The Millers Tale

    Waitrose are selling a lovely range of frozen vegetarian sausages which my husband has recently tried. They are by Good Life and we’ve tried the Red Sky Tomato & Basil Sausages with Creamy Mozzarella
    and the Cauliflower & Mature Cheddar Sausages with Truffle Oil. The latter are a bit hokey as a breakfast but we liked them (bizarrely enough) as a risotto ingredient tarted up with some real truffle and pecorino stirred in at the end. Fry them up first to get them crunchy on the outside.

    I am wondering how they got that iron flavour of a real blood sausage (like biting on a penny) into the veg version?

    My veg husband says that Halloumi satisifies his craving for texture, something that a lot of vegetarian meals can lack so that stack sounds good. I am wondering though if combining it with mushroom might make it a little too ‘bouncy’- you know that squeaky, spooky texture both of these can have?

    However it is veggie bacon that I find the most rank. I’m of a mind to not bother with substitutes when there’s so much you can do with, um, vegetables and it’d be the harissa/baked egg cocotte thingy I’d have ordered.

    1. Karma Tsechi

      That’s good to know – thanks ever so much for sharing that. I try to avoid processed food but they sound worth a try. Yeah, I do know what you mean about substitutes – it can be a minefield and a lot of disappointment, especially when eating out. Although, sometimes substitutes have their role – especially if like me, you’ve eaten meat for a lot of your life, and occassionally you crave something like a good old vspag bol (or a fry up) where you just have to use something like soya mince. The fried halloumi mushroom combo was lovely but perhaps not great if you’re not into those sort of textures. Aparently there’s a great place in Drayton that does a good veggie fry up and my other half is partial to the Green Grocer’s version. Do you have any favourites locally?

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