What the Papers say...
Austin Monthly: Cheap, Tasty, Filling: Austin's best breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour steals that will leave you- and your wallet- stuffed
Authentic British fare is rare on this side of the pond, but take one bite of the fish and chips at Full English, and you’ll find yourself wondering if you’ve been transported to London. The restaurant uses peanut oil–fried russet potatoes, fragrant Pacific cod and its own homemade amber-ale beer batter to recreate this classic English entree. “We wanted to feature fish and chips because it’s a traditional, popular, indulgent British staple,” says owner Alice Bachini-Smith. Indeed.
First of all, throw out all the preconceived notions brought on by the name Full English. It’s English, but it’s not a pub. The food is British, but it’s mainly breakfast dishes. If you go expecting a dark bar with wooden floors and walls, “football” on the tele and old men with frothy pints, you’ll have missed the point completely.
What should come to mind is The Clash and the Sex Pistols or even The Ramones (if you lean toward NYC being the punk capital), as this joint really embodies a punk rock feel. From the mismatched chairs and sofas to the wall art, including pieces emblazoned with “Revenge is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” it’s not anarchy per say, but it’s not your mom’s local haunt, either. Or maybe it is? Your mom might be pretty cool.
It’s homey, yet hip, and it’s BYOB, which is amazing. On the weekend you can bring your own bottle of bubbly and it’ll only cost you a glass of orange juice to make your own mimosa to enjoy alongside the light and fluffy English pancakes with lemon and sugar. Don’t dolly! Sunday is their busiest day.
As good as that sounds, Full English will make your mouth water for a dark, nutty brown ale. Why? No sooner through the door than we were bowled over by a young girl behind the counter grinding and stuffing their bangers by hand. Honestly, the grinder was bigger than her, but she looked a pro. Everything at Full English is made from scratch.
Importing its pork from outside the state, this cut is the most British style of bacon found in Austin. Half bacon, half ham, it's thick, juicy, and amazing. Not a better way exists to start a hungover Saturday than with one of Full English's rashers.
Full English buys most of the back bacon from R.J. Balson and Sons, a butcher shop that dates back to 1535 and is still owned by the same family. Mike Balson, a professional soccer player who played for several U.S. teams in the 1980s, opened a U.S. outlet of the business in Atlanta in 2007, making it much easier for fans of back bacon and bangers to get the real thing. (You can order their products online at balsonbutchers.com, and Full English sells the bacon by the half-pound.)
This funky little cafe in South Austin [...] menu includes “bangers and rashers” (sausage and hard-to-get British- style back bacon), Heinz beans on toast, high tea and other reminders. A slice of the rich, dark Guinness chocolate cake, with buttercream between two layers and chocolate icing on top, will have you exclaiming “blimey!” with every bite.
(Video for subscribers only) The London Summer Olympic Games are officially in full-swing and some fans in Austin welcomed the games with a very special watch party. The Full English Cafe opened its doors to British ex-pats and Americans alike.
Alice and Shadrach Smith, the husband and wife behind the locavore-friendly Full English brand, already have a burgeoning reputation through their market-sold traditional British sweet treats. Now their humble attempt to introduce Austin palates to English food has a permanent home. Tucked behind the Manchaca Food Mart and near South Austin’s other bastion of northern European cuisine, the admirable BakeHouse, Full English Cafe summons the spirit of the great British institution of the greasy spoon. That sounds off-putting, but the independently owned diners are really the last bastions of homemade, handmade, working-class grub. No nouvelle cuisine here: The small but concise Full English menu favors the British tradition of fried goodness.
“We get quite a few people who come in and say: ‘Oh, English food is the worst food in the world. Why would you want to do that?’ ” said Shadrach Smith, who owns the cozy cafe with his wife, Alice Bachini-Smith. This place doesn’t do the purple goop, though. Instead, it features the cuisine of Alice, a British transplant who has a flair for English cooking. [...] The location’s a bit odd for the queen’s footmen. In the heart of Bubbaland, the Full English Café sits behind a convenience store, across the street from a squirt wand car wash, not far from a pawnshop, and near a strip center where you can find guns and discount cigarettes. Before the English pancakes and finger sandwiches showed up, the place was a tattoo parlor.