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Traveling Fare: The Doctor's Tonic

Submitted by Bethany on Wed, 01/08/2020 - 10:00

There are a lot of things I find charming about England (the castles, the accents, the ridiculously narrow roads lined with hedges) and one thing at the top of that list is local pubs. Back in the States, I would not call myself a pub person - I don't really drink so there's no need to go out, and I find most bars/pubs to be needlessly loud and the food is often mediocre. 

In the UK, however, pubs are different. They are prolific for starters - they are everywhere and often with quirky names that make me chuckle. On the inside they are warm and inviting - they feel, to me, more like a cozy coffee shop than a bar. The chairs are comfortable as if they want you to stay awhile. I'll give bonus points to any pub that has a fireplace with an actual fire going (I've been to several like this and they are amazing!) Many of them are long-established neighborhood hangouts where the locals gather for meals, drinks, and company. I especially get a kick out of ones that have existed for longer than the entire history of the USA. 

I am currently on the hunt for my favorite iteration of a Full English Breakfast and finding a local pub is always a good place to try a new one. On a whim last week we stopped at The Doctor's Tonic, planning to split an English Breakfast. Our general budget for one is about £7, and we are willing to go up to £8 if it includes a drink. So imagine our delight when we looked at the menu here and found that a Full English is only £3.50 or £4.50 if you want a drink! We immediately ordered one for each of us and I sat down to enjoy my cup of tea. 

Our first time here was on a Friday afternoon, around 2 PM, and the place was rather busy for such an odd time. They were clearly understaffed but those working did the best they could to keep up with everything. Our meal took quite a while to arrive but luckily we weren't super hungry when we got there so we didn't mind waiting. We were a little disappointed that not everything on the menu was actually available - Joel had initially wanted a breakfast that included salmon but they were out. Despite the lack of staff, the vibe inside was still very warm, welcoming, and cozy. 

When our breakfast arrived we dug in, excited. I loved that the beans were served in a ramekin, I liked that it kept them from getting all over everything and it kept them warm longer. The sausage and bacon were both crisped, and while the bread wasn't toasted it was still good. We were missing the roasted tomatoes that were supposed to come with it - when we asked about them they said they would get those taken care of...but they never did come out. (When we returned the second time they recognized us and said they had indeed put the tomatoes on to roast, then promptly forgot about them. Hours later they pulled out some little black balls and had a good laugh!) 

The food was good enough and the price was excellent so we knew we would be back. This time we returned with our laptops so we could settle in and get some work done. (In fact, I am typing this post at the pub right now!) I'm reminded of grad school when I used to go to coffee shops to get work done. It's nice to get out of the house and really, be forced to get some work done as I don't have other distractions easily available (*cough*Netflix*cough.) The staff has been very accommodating, helping us find outlets where we could plug in and letting us know we could stay awhile. I find myself quite delighted by the rainbow arrangement of bottles behind the bar. 

This time our English Breakfast came out a little differently than last time, but still great! The beans were no longer in a ramekin (boo) and we only had one piece of toast (but it was indeed toasted this time, lol.) We also had tomatoes (yay!) and a fun surprise addition of two hashbrowns (not on the menu but they were fantastic so I'll take it.) There were no mushrooms this time but they did warn us they were out when we ordered. All in all it was delicious and that price just cannot be beat. 

We will likely be in this area at least another week (hopefully not more, haha) and we will be back here again for sure. It's just what the doctor ordered! (You know I had to do that...right?) Plus, I must admit, I'm curious what the third iteration of their Full English will look like! 

XOXO, Bethany