As the saying goes, "Marmite: love it or hate it." I'm a lover of Marmite. Seriously, I cannot get enough of the stuff! And it's a dieter's dream. I mean, look at any commercial diet plan (you know, the ones connected to a weekly class in a village hall where you pay through the nose to be informed by Doris* that you've lost a pound having starved yourself all week...) and Marmite always features heavily in the 'free' or low-calorie lists of food. So what's not to love? I adore the stuff!
So, with my upcoming weekend to London in site, I was unbelieveably excited to stumble across this fabulous blog. (I actually discovered it looking for a review of Balthazar's afternoon tea. That's a whole other blog post....) Yes, that's right, a whole menu dedicated to the black stuff! I also adore Bill's restaurants and am living in desperate hope that they open one closer to Newcastle soon. If you haven't been, please do yourself a favour and go soon! I was really taken by the idea that I could whisper "Spread the love!" in a clandestine manner to the waiter and a whole Marmite-y secret world would be opened up to me.
Therefore, last weekend, hungover to such an extent that only My Mate and more booze would cure me, my best friend Helen and I set off in search of Bill's on London's South Bank. (In actual fact, the Covent Garden branch would have been far quicker to get to, but Google Maps let me down, believing I was still in the really swanky hotel bar I had patronised the night before!) An hour and ten minutes later, and ready to eat my own arm, we arrived at said Bill's to be greeted by a lovely waiter. By this point I was desperate to see what would happen if I surreptitiously whispered "spread the love" into his ear. It was going to go one of two ways: either I would be very quickly removed from the restaurant with or without an accusation of sexual harassment OR great things would happen. Oh, sweet Lord, thankfully, it was the latter!
Helen and I were greeted with a knowing smile and handed the cutest and tiniest little menu I have ever seen, along with a teeny tiny heart-shaped pot of Marmite! The wonder! The excitement! I felt so special!
How adorable? I know!
The menu itself wasn't massive, with only one food option and two drinks options. However, the Marmite Rarebit with two perfectly poached eggs was a must, particularly as the throbbing headache of my hangover was threatening to ruin a day that had been in the planning stages for months!
You have to excuse
my photography, and I'm sure the creator of this divine dish (should he or she ever see this blog post) would be devastated as this does the dish no justice whatsoever!
I had mine served with the Marmite Mary. I just needed the kick that comes from the spice and the alcohol. What's not to love about legitimately drinking alcohol at breakfast? Helen, far more sensible than I am, opted for fresh orange. And in seconds, our hangovers began to subside.
Oh, but the food! Heaven could not have served up a better breakfast dish! It was gooey, creamy and sharp in equal measures. Thick, crusty bloomer with just the right amount of Marmite, topped with thick, squidgy, mustardy cheese and creme fraiche. Topping that, two wonderfully fresh and delicious poached eggs, their golden yolks just waiting to ooze over all of that mouthwatering goodness! Personally, I can never get poached eggs just right; they're always too wet, or burst before I get them to the plate. I am in awe, therefore, of the chef who can present such a perfect plate!
I'd love to tell you to rush along now to Bill's to discover all of his for yourself. Unfortunately, the menu ended in January 31st. However, go and try their regular menu. Their fish pie is heavenly....
*names have been changed...
Disclaimer: Bill's have not paid me to say all of this. I just love the place!