Sitting down in the ornately-decorated breakfast room, I was handed a complimentary copy of Solo and a facsimile of a breakfast menu dating to 1969, the year in which the book is set (more about the menu in a separate post). As much as I was tempted by the kedgeree, grilled chop or stewed prunes, I was here to have what Bond had, and that was helpfully described on the back of the menu: “...four eggs, scrambled with pepper sprinkled on top, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon, well done, on the side and a long draught of strong black coffee.”
James Bond's breakfast choices, as described in the original novels, are more varied, and I was able to supplement the breakfast Boyd gives Bond with items mentioned by Fleming. I ordered orange juice (which Bond orders for breakfast in New York in Live and Let Die), and had my eye on a pot of marmalade on the table (Bond takes toast and marmalade during the same New York breakfast, and marmalade is mentioned again in From Russia, with Love).
As for the scrambled eggs and bacon, I can only say that they were cooked to perfection. The eggs were perhaps not as runny (baveuse) as Fleming – and presumably Bond – would like, but they were moist and delicious (and peppered as Boyd described), and nicely balanced by the crisp bacon. The meal was accompanied by a pot of coffee, which I initially drank black as Bond would have done, although I confess I added sugar, which would have received Bond's disapproval. I duly had some toast and marmalade, and selected a few items from a basket of pastries, breads and croissants that had also been placed on the table. The basket is not as un-Bondian as it seems. Bond breakfasts on café complet – which typically includes croissants and bread – at Orleans' Hotel de Gare in Goldfinger.
If the Solo breakfast wasn't the best breakfast I have ever had, it was certainly close, and for a Bondian experience it was unforgettable. I must also mention the staff. As you'd expect from the Dorchester, the staff were more than excellent. They were attentive and sensitive, and no request was a problem. It was no trouble, for example, that my three-year old daughter went off-menu and wanted boiled eggs (we weren't charged for them either). Incidentally, I didn't mind my daughter's preference for boiled eggs. After all, James Bond likes a boiled egg too.