I’m a breakfast person. Always have been and always will be. It’s a rare day indeed (and in my world a sad one) that I have to start getting things done without having a bite to eat.
In fact, let me rephrase that – it is a rare, sad, grumpy and unproductive day if it begins without breakfast. I really don’t get much done on an empty stomach.
Unsurprisingly, finding a great breakfast spot on holiday is something I take particular pleasure in. Nothing heightens that lovely feeling of being poised at the beginning of a brand new day in a brand new city than finding a lovely place for breakfast.
I was in Istanbul a couple of weekends ago and was on the lookout for Kaymakçı Pando, a little café tucked up the streets of the Besiktas quarter of Istanbul, not too far from the grandiose Dolmabahçe Palace.
Kaymakçi Pando, unsurprisingly sells kaymak – the luscious Turkish clotted cream that feels and tastes like something between creamy butter and breakfast cream, along with other typical Turkish breakfast favourites. The café is no more than a small room piled with tables and chairs, with the owner tending a giant bowl of steaming milk at the entrance, walls plastered with cuttings from various papers praising the Pando’s famous kaymak (and pictures of the cows I assume the milk used to make it comes from), and a ceiling fan slowly whirring above – I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place to sit down and plot the rest of my day.
The old owner is a descendant of the Turkish Bulgarian family of Sestaki and it was his grandfather who learned to make the creamy kaymak from working for a rich pasha under the Ottomans. The clotted cream treat is as much a favourite now as it was then – served with a generous helping of honey.
We of course opted for the bal-kaymak (the sinfully delicious kaymak and honey combo) as well as a hearty portion of Sucuklu Yumurta (fried eggs with spicy sujuk sausage), all served with fresh bread and juicy tomatoes, cucumbers and local cheese. Heaven on a plate!
The charming Kaymakci Pando will definitely make it to my list of favourite breakfast spots, and in tribute to it, here are the others that would join that list:
Longuinhos, Margao - Goa
Okay, you may accuse me of being a bit biased here, but there are fewer places in the world I could end up for breakfast that would make me happier than my very own family restaurant back home in Goa. From the mellow morning light filtering through the large windows, the familiar sounds and sights of my home town waking up to a new day and the smell and taste of what few would dispute are the most delicious sausage rolls in the whole of Goa, Longuinhos definitely ranks up there in my list of favourite breakfast spots. Add a steaming coffee, crispy meat and prawn patties and a few croquettes to the plate and you get a great taste of how many busy Goans start their day.
The FCC, Phnom Penh - Cambodia
With its breakfast balcony taking in the gently flowing Tonle Sap, the most vivid blue skies stretching beyond and the laid-back vibe of Cambodia’s capital seeping out of every inch of this colonial-era gem, The FCC Phnom Penh is definitely the place to begin discovering this fascinating city. Order a fried egg sunny side up, a smooth dark cup of coffee and a roll slathered with tangy lemon curd and get out your book – this breakfast spot is made for lingering morning meals.
Il Lago, Geneva - Switzerland
The bright frescoed walls of the cozy Il Lago restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva form the perfect backdrop to grab a moment watching the beautiful people wander across the Place des Bergues, en route to (what I imagine) are their jobs making fancy watches and passing UN resolutions (ok, I admit, there may be other things people do in Geneva). But I digress… my point is that Il Lago serves up the most perfect Bircher Muesli I have ever eaten -sprinkled with jewel-like fresh berries - and the lightest croissants too. I think I actually picked the crumbs off the plate so I wouldn’t waste them!
Mana Nui Inn, Easter Island - Chile
My memory of the little B&B I stayed in on Easter Island will forever be tied to breakfast on Easter Sunday, when the owners placed little chocolate bunnies amidst our breakfast spread. In addition, a view that dreams are made of – pristine Pacific waters and huge clouds gathering in the dawn light – and a daily changing menu of freshly squeezed tropical juices like guava and banana, platters of cheese and cold meats, pancakes, fresh buns and eggs, made this little morning hall one of the most memorable places I’ve ever had the pleasure of tucking into a delicious breakfast.
What are some of your favourite breakfast spots around the world? I'd be happy taking notes :)
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