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Christmas breakfast at Sean Gravina’s Crust Bakery Bar Bistro was the festive cheer we needed

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

This real cracker of a Christmas breakfast from Crust Bakery Bar Bistro was Sean Gravina’s was to wish us a Happy Christmas!

Christmas breakfast is one of my favourite traditions. Being a kid at Christmas often means waking up early, full of anticipation until you can open your presents. The smell of the Imbuljuta already around the house. As we get older though, such excitement shifts from indulging in tearing apart wrappings, to tucking into that plate with your Christmas breakfast. Whatever you decide to cook, make sure it’s full of warmth and love, after all it is Christmas.

Crust Baker Bar Bistro Breakfast

For me it was always the Full English Breakfast (or fry-up, as they call it) that captured my heart – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans – I just love it. It is not the lightest of meals, and it’s a lot to cook, so I always keep it for special occasions.

This year we decided not to cook anything ourselves though, and instead treated ourselves to something special. The choice fell on Crust Bakery Bar Bistro, which opened its doors in 2018 and is the brainchild of Master Chef 2014 Quarter Finalist and local celebrity chef Sean Gravina. It is situated in a very prominent location in St Julian’s and if you are going up Mensija Street, a short walk away from Spinola Bay (near the LOVE sign) it is impossible to miss.

The small terrace preceding the entrance, decorated with a myriad of plants and fairy lights is itself the perfect invitation into this place. This was a cold December Christmas night, so sitting outside was out of the question, but I can only imagine how nice it is in the warmer springtime, if you don’t mind the traffic and other noises of course.

We were accompanied to our table as soon as we got in. The place was buzzing and full of Christmas cheer. The interior decoration is one of luxurious simplicity, but comfortable and cozy at the same time. The French are known for their refined interior design style and like a proper French boulangerie (a bakery that specializes in bread, especially the French type), this is a charming and alluring place.

Crust Baker Bar Bistro Breakfast

The place features hanging plants, thick wooden tables and chairs, white rendered brick wall, thick wooden shelves full of vintage items (including what seemed like a hospital pee pan believe it or not) and two large sofas which for the occasion had to be put aside. Also, the open kitchen is there, behind the bar, in plain sight. The tables’ arrangement is fair, so it we did not feel cramped, even though this was a Christmas Breakfast occasion and the place was full.

The menu promised a range of luxurious but relatively uncomplicated festive dishes ready to start you off on your way to the big day. There was Salmon for anyone opting for a Norwegian Breakfast, Cheesy Mexican Eggs served with Avocado on Rye Bread, Smashed Avocados, Pancakes, the Full English, French Toast, as well as grilled asparagus with either a poached egg or vegan sausages.

Prices ranged between €7 for the smashed avocados to €12 for the Full English, depending on add-ons. The whole could be accompanied with a glass of Mulled Wine priced at €4 per glass (although the online menu for bookings had proposed mulled cider for €3 a glass) and we were each given a free mince pie.

We were given an additional drinks menu featuring gins, cocktails, wines and hot drinks, but really, for us it had to be mulled wine on the night. I obviously opted for the Full English Breakfast whilst Charlene chose to indulge in a French Christmas Toast. This was going to be a post-midnight fully indulgent treat. The big day had just started, and we were ready to roll.

The Full English breakfast had all the classic ingredients you would expect to find in your plate (although in the UK I get that extra delight called ‘Black Sausage’). The combination of meats in this fry-up consisted of crunchy streaky bacon and Lincolnshire sausages, which were packed with sage and high-quality pork.

Every year the guys in Lincoln (UK) hold a competition to see who can make the best Lincolnshire sausage, so these guys know their sausages. As for eggs, there was a choice between scrambled, poached and fried. Everyone has their own preference of course, but as far as I’m concerned, this is a fry-up, so I’ll have my eggs fried up, thank you very much. In this case, eggs were fried and salted to perfection.

Included in the dish were grilled fresh tomatoes, a hash brown which was golden colour and delightful, as well as sautéed mushrooms which smelled as fresh as morning dew. My only complaint for the night was that I was promised ‘homemade baked beans’. The ones presented in the dish gave us the impression to be the canned type and heated up. Also, the amount was so small I only got a couple of tastes. Other than that, this was close to a Full English breakfast perfection!

Crust Baker Bar Bistro Breakfast

Charlene’s ‘French Christmas Toast’ was made from a thick brioche loaf slice and accompanied by cinnamon Marsala ice cream, candied walnuts and mascarpone, and was brought to us with flambeed fortified wine (I’m pretty sure it was Marsala). This was Christmas so all dieting rules (as if we had any) were out of the window. Bread is without doubt the most important part of any French Toast recipe.

A good quality brioche loaf differs from the normal bread as it is made with more butter and egg yolks, milk (or cream), and sugar. You can use normal toast if you want, but a brioche bun takes French toast to a higher level. This one did not disappoint us. The bread was light, flaky textured with a beautiful golden-brown crust.

Most importantly it was nice and thick, which made the soft heart of the Brioche soaks in perfectly an equal amount of alcohol and ice cream. You could really taste the richness of the dish with every bite. The candied walnuts gave each bite an extra crunch. Magnifique!

The place has been given its fair share of attention – and rightly so. The staff is attentive, the place is beautiful, and our food on the night was great.

We boast on not being fussed by all the plaudits and just say it as we feel it is. We feel the place merits all the plaudits it gets.

All the best, everyone!

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