Café Diana, Leytonstone
Leytonstone High Road
by Hashley Brown
Café Diana is a very friendly greasy spoon on Leytonstone High Road – an area not noted for its wealth of Michelin starred eateries. As well as a sexpartite breakfast special menu, imaginatively named Diana Specials Nos. 1-6, they serve roast dinners, and the odd kebab. A jack of all trades, if you will, in a culinary wilderness.
Blinded (or bewildered?) by the diversity of choice on the specials menu, I plumped for the Brunch combination. Double sausage, double bacon, double egg, mushrooms, tomatoes and tea. Good tea, but this was the Exxon Valdez of breakfasts. As I ate I could feel guillemots struggling with blackened wings against the eco-disaster that was rapidly taking over my mouth - it felt dirty. But it was a greasy spoon, and that it did well, if a little over zealously. After wading through half a brunch platter, the bloated queasiness I felt didn’t endear me to persevere with the still rather full English that stared back at me from the glistening plate. There was no problem with being underfed in Café Diana – and for £3.60 that’s no bad thing.
A functional, breakfast-serving establishment that, although lacking finesse, did the job. Standard ingredients, cooked in a greasy way. Much to their credit they eschewed the easy route to fried mushrooms via the deep fat fryer, which inevitably produces yellowing spongy funghi tasting solely of old oil, and opted for a more delicate, less intrusive cooking technique - something many other cafés would do well to imitate.