Day Nine: Most Retro Recipe
Spam is retro, isn’t it? I was certainly surprised to see it listed on the breakfast menu at The Thirsty Scholar in Manchester!
The Thirsty Scholar is located under a bridge and looks a bit daunting to a mild-mannered lady like me. But it is worth venturing in, because the bar staff and Mod, the chef, are all really friendly and helpful, and the portions are gigantic. It’s not refined, elegant food: it’s big and greasy and hits the spot. So while it wasn’t the best breakfast I’ve ever had, it was exactly what I expected, and I will have it again one day when the mood takes me.
It consisted of three toast triangles (one of the best serving sizes we’ve encountered), some mushrooms, roasted tomatoes (boo!), lots of beans, sausages, and spam. The spam was a bit unnecessary, I thought – it was an extra bit of meat that didn’t really contribute much to the dish. In fairness, I may just have been underwhelmed because I never tried real spam, so didn’t have much to compare it to. The menu listed a solitary hash brown amongst the components, so imagine my delight on finding two hiding there under the toast! They were delicious, as was the black pudding, which costs extra but is hard to resist when it’s available.
We went there on a gorgeous summer day and dined at the picnic tables outside. The main drawback to Thirsty Scholar is that they don’t start serving breakfast till 1pm on Saturdays. That’s just lunch, is it not? I suspect it’s very much intended as hangover food: the late start, the greasiness. I imagine it would be very good for that. For me it will be a rare indulgence.
Speed of service: There weren’t many people there before us, so service was quick and really friendly. 4/5
Value for money: Considering how cheap and cheerful the setting is, I feel like it could have been either a bit cheaper or a bit more plentiful (I’m basing this on how massive the helpings are for the burgers, chips and onion rings). It was £7 for the breakfast, with an extra £1 for black pudding – but we got that £1 back as they were short of sausages and we only got 1 each. 3/5
Quality of cooking: The mushrooms really let this dish down – there was no seasoning, and when I cut into them, they oozed liquid everywhere. I would have preferred the black pudding to be sliced up and fried, as Mr HH always serves it nice and crispy when he takes to the kitchen, and it’s sublime. 2/5
Creativity: The black pudding was a great addition, but the spam didn’t add much at all. It was pretty much a bog standard fry-up, which is fine if that’s what you’re in the mood for. 2/5