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
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