Chef Blumenthal Puts Coffee Flavor Inside New Breakfast Sandwich
Heston Blumenthal stands in front of the Hinds Head in Bray, U.K. (Photographer: Richard Vines/Bloomberg)

Chef Blumenthal Puts Coffee Flavor Inside New Breakfast Sandwich

Heston Blumenthal likes to confound diners’ expectations, serving unusual dishes such as a mandarin orange that turns out to  be liver parfait in an orange gel to a cup of tea that is both hot and iced, a little kitchen trickery separating the different temperatures.

The British chef’s latest creation, which went on sale this week, is a Full English sandwich that re-imagines traditional breakfast. The flavor of baked beans is incorporated into the bread and coffee shows up as part of a mushroom ketchup. 

Chef Blumenthal Puts Coffee Flavor Inside New Breakfast Sandwich

More conventionally, the sandwich also features smoked bacon, free-range sliced egg, mayonnaise, tomatoes and beans, albeit of the cannellini variety. You take a large bite and the general idea is that all the flavors of a traditional fry-up hit you, releasing memories like a madeleine.

“There are many reasons why some dishes become our favorites,” says Blumenthal, who holds three Michelin stars at the Fat Duck restaurant and two at Dinner by Heston. “They can be complicated masterpieces of culinary delights, but there are times when all you want is a Full English. So I looked at how to satisfy that craving, any time, anywhere and I realized the solution was a sandwich.”

Fair enough, but how does it taste?

Tomato and egg are predictably to the fore, with bacon right behind them in the mix. I don’t really get baked beans, other than the insistent tomato that lurks long after the sandwich has gone, like litter at a pop festival. I searched in vain for coffee, like a stranger arriving in a small town on a Sunday night and finding the only places open are churches. (I can’t find coffee in the full list of ingredients, either, though Blumenthal is a master of surprise and I suspect the chemistry of coffee is somehow incorporated.)

Chef Blumenthal Puts Coffee Flavor Inside New Breakfast Sandwich

The sandwich costs £3.80 ($5) with an introductory price of £2.85. It’s part of a range of Blumenthal creations at the Waitrose store chain, including a Christmas special of white chocolate candles filled with a mandarin buck's fizz milk chocolate ganache.

I’m generally a fan of the Heston from Waitrose range. I enjoyed the sandwich, too, though I wouldn’t necessarily seek it out again: The story is more interesting than the taste and you can’t be expected to swallow every new gimmick. 

Richard Vines is Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

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