BED AND BAGELS

From fresh pas­tries in Paris to con­gee and noo­dles in Sin­ga­pore, we serve up a buf­fet of the world’s most en­tic­ing break­fasts

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

PLAZA Athe­nee, Paris: Crois­sants with a view? In Paris, on a warm morn­ing, there could be no bet­ter place for a bathrobe break­fast than on a pe­tite bal­cony of a Plaza Athe­nee gue­stroom. Down a clas­sic Parisian boule­vard lined with chest­nut trees stands the Eif­fel Tower. It’s such a the­atri­cal totem it looks freshly dropped into place by a crane, wait­ing for the cur­tain to rise.

The whole scene is al­most too corny to be true: add pas­tries stuffed with choco­late (don’t you just love the non-di­et­ing French?), the gera­nium-filled win­dow boxes and hand­some room ser­vice waiter in waist­coat and long white apron, and I could have pitched up in one of those im­pos­si­bly pretty French movies, such as Amelie .

As I sip a bowl-sized cup of cafe au lait, I sulk that the fan­tasy of Paris, me, the waiter and the new life could have had legs if only I’d thought last night to con­sult the Plaza Athe­nee’s pil­low menu: nes­tled be­tween the wheat and horse­hair-filled op­tions is a style known as beau­ti­fy­ing. C’est la vie. Susan Kuro­sawa

www.plaza-athe­nee-paris.com On board Sil­ver Cloud: Even at this early hour I need my Jackie Onas­sis sun­glasses to fil­ter the sparkle of the ocean. I have an out­side ta­ble at La Ter­razza and feel I amonmy own private yacht. An at­ten­tive stew­ard who has ar­rived with a made-to-or­der omelet adds to this il­lu­sion. I have dubbed the chef, who cooks eggs in any style to per­fec­tion, the Omelet King. He whips up the fill­ing of my choice ev­ery morn­ing, and to­day I say caviar will be nice. I am trans­ported, quite lit­er­ally, by the plea­sur­able sight and smell of the sea, and now the salty taste of it ex­plodes in my mouth. I am­mop­ping up the run­away grey pearls on my plate with chunks of warm baguette when the stew­ard reap­pears. He wants to know if I would like more cof­fee. I de­cline. I would, in fact, like an­other glass of com­pli­men­tary cham­pagne. He­len Hutcheon

www.sil­versea.com Ho­tel Mer­cure Mar­seilles Beau­vau, France: Sit at a ta­ble be­side one of the wide, arched win­dows in the break­fast bar at Ho­tel Mer­cure Mar­seilles Beau­vau, over­look­ing the old port, and watch the fre­netic ac­tiv­ity of a Mar­seilles morn­ing. Fish­er­men sell their catch, ag­i­ta­tors stage a mi­nor demon­stra­tion, lo­cals walk, cy­cle or drive to work. There are strangers sim­ply gaz­ing, men in an­kle-length Ara­bic robes, flocks of seabirds.

But inside is all sun-drenched, Proven­cal calm. Ho­tel Beau­vau’s break­fasts are set in a spa­cious ter­ra­cotta-tiled room with curl­ing wrought-iron chairs. Sun­flower-yel­low cloths cover the ta­bles, heavy sea green and yel­low drapes frame the win­dow arches.

There are quirky mod­ern Mediter­ranean touches such as spiky plants and straight-sided asym­met­ri­cal break­fast cups that sit crookedly in their saucers as if de­signed by Ge­orges Braque.

Best of all in this cheery room is the food. A buf­fet is dis­creetly set with all the sta­ples, beau­ti­fully pre­pared: ce­re­als, good breads (there are leg­endary bak­eries in Mar­seilles), eggs with all their ac­com­pa­ni­ments, but also a slim al­mond and a lovely lemon tart and a se­lec­tion of small crisp pas­tries and al­mond bis­cuits Ju­dith Elen

www.mer­cure.com Ngoron­goro Crater Lodge, Tan­za­nia: North­ern Tan­za­nia’s Ngoron­goro Crater Lodge, once the site of a Bri­tish gov­er­nor’s hunt­ing camp, is a relic of a priv­i­leged era of ser­vants and hunt­ing tro­phies, sex­u­ally dar­ing ‘‘ white mis­chief’’ and long and lazy pink gins.

It teeters al­most sur­re­al­is­ti­cally on the knife-edged rim of a pre­his­toric de­pres­sion, and at break­fast we see the view for the first time as an early red sun breaks above the crater’s rim, like a match struck against the sky.

The Ma­sai call the val­ley the grind­ing stone, and it re­sem­bles a gi­ant soup bowl with a flat base and steep sides. It’s one of the most im­por­tant wildlife re­serves on earth. Decades of coloni­sa­tion by Euro­peans have left their im­print on the African break­fast ta­ble. As the de­fined de­tails of the crater emerge from the morn­ing mist, we eat a hearty English-style spread of eggs, ba­con, sausages, mush­rooms, toma­toes and hash browns. And mul­ti­ple cups of Tan­za­nian cof­fee, a full-bod­ied drop from the slopes of Mt Kil­i­man­jaro, ro­bust and long on af­ter­taste. Graeme Blun­dell

www.ngoron­goro-crater-lodge.com To Page 2

Hearts and flow­ers: But­tery crois­sants and the movie-set view pro­vide a per­fect start to the day at Plaza Athe­nee in Paris

Fine spread: Break­fast at Ngoron­goro Crater Lodge

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