The Lord Clifden at the edge of the Jewellery Quarter
Great Hampton Street is the grimy, grim and unprepossessing end of the Jewellery Quarter. It is wide and busy and dirty, but among the grit there are some delightful places to go: The Church Inn, the Blue and Orange Theatre, an amazing Ethiopian restaurant, Wine Lord, and the Lord Clifden pub, famous for its beer garden, its live music, and its breakfast.
It’s so little from the front, but it goes back and back, decorated inside in classic pub style, modernised with artsy prints on the walls (the website boasts of its ‘collection of Urban Street Art’). Breakfast is on every day from 10-12. When we arrived at 11am, it was quiet, with only a few couples settling in for food. The bar service for orders was quick and friendly and we were soon ready to go.
Tea was quick to appear, along with a loyalty card for hot drinks. A classic white tea set, with traditional milk jug and tea bag in the cup. And the cups are huge, so you get a lot of tea even without a teapot for refills.
There was some debate about which of the full English choices we should order. This was solely because the Lord Clifden offers steak with two of its breakfast options instead of the classic sausage and bacon.
No one was brave enough for steak at breakfast, and a full English and the vegetarian version of the same were ordered. The full English was sensationally good. All the ingredients are super-sized, the toast in particular enormously thick, and the Lashford sausage almost indecently large. And everything was so tasty and perfectly cooked. The sauteed potato cubes were a particularly nice addition.
The sausage and egg sandwich maximised the super-sized ethos of the breakfast. With sausage and bread that thick, it was never going to get finished: ‘there’s just no air in there’, she explained when faced with the second half of the sandwich. ‘It’s just solid food.’ Awesome in every way.
Time to check out the toilets, which are just as beautiful as the rest of this pub and the food. Tiled in grey, with soothing lighting, it was immaculately clean, and even better, has enormous toilet cubicles. In the main room, a beautiful old heater sits next to a modern Dyson airblade. A great toilet, mixing space, cleanliness, character design, and a Dyson.
The day we visited was overcast, but if you go on a sunny day, the final treat of the Lord Clifden is the pub garden, which stretches back behind the lounge, first under covers and then in the open air. When music is on, or Friday night is your night to visit, the garden can be overwhelmingly busy. But on a quiet Saturday morning for brunch, it would be just marvellous.
Price: midrange – £15.55 for a full English (£6.95), a sausage and egg sandwich (£4.70), and 2 cups of tea
Atmosphere and design: classic pub decor with an street art inspired modern twist
Food: great quality, enormous portions. Top quality Lashford sausage.
Toilets: spacious, soothing, Dyson airblade in evidence
Enjoyment: the perfect place for a pub brunch (especially if the sun is out and you can sit in the garden)