Former trucker Mark Webber, whose Cabin Cafe is consistently voted one of the UK's best roadside cafés, knows a good breakfast is the way to a driver's heart. Tom Vaughan reports
It could be argued that there's not much competition for Mark Webber's Cabin Cafe, as the A264 to Crawley is hardly the first choice of aspiring restaurateurs.
In fact, it would be a foolhardy businessman who tried to give the Cabin Cafe a run for its money. Repeatedly featured in national publications as one of the most popular roadside cafés, Webber's outlet was recently awarded top UK spot in truck manufacturer Scania's list of recommended truck-stops, as well as featuring in The Times as the purveyor of one of the best bacon butties in England.
Despite the bargain £12 overnight offer for truckers - including a parking spot, dinner, shower, unlimited tea and coffee, plus breakfast - when Caterer visited it wasn't just freight veterans at the tables but families and even a group of suited businessmen, laptops on show and talking numbers.
As you might predict, the menu is as hearty as a roadie's beard. Named after the makes of truck that frequent the parking lot, the full fry-ups - Scania, MAN, DAF and twin-axle - range in price from £4.10 to £6.10 and include all the staples you'd expect: egg, bacon, sausage, hash browns, tomato and so forth, all cooked to order, not dried out under a hot plate, and served with white crusty bloomer bread.
A particularly good choice is egg, bacon and a lusciously sweet bubble and squeak (£3.10). Green, not the dirty brown it can sometimes become, it is composed of generous chunks of carrot, onion and cabbage.
Although perhaps not the first choice of a trucker after an all-night drive, healthier mueslis and cereals are also on offer. But even with the best cholesterol-reducing willpower, you'd be hard pressed to resist just one whirl of the twin-axle breakfast.
• The Cabin Cafe, Crawley Road, Faygate RH12 4SE
Is yours the best breakfast?
In association with Heinz, Caterer will be selecting an annual Best Breakfast offer from those featured in the Breakfastwatch column, with the winner to be announced at our spring Chef Conference in May.
To qualify, you must run a breakfast menu with a cooked offering. The sponsor's judges will be looking for food selection, healthiness and value, among other criteria.
To put forward a menu, send it and any supporting information to firstname.lastname@example.org.