Pullen's Dining Room, Herne Hill
293 - 295 Railton Rd
020 7274 9163
by Gracie Spoon
A mind teeming with hangover needs a dark, slow place to calm its nerves. And a body surprised by its own possibility for drunkeness needs a robust breakfast to reassure. Such was the appeal of Pullens, whose murky lighting and solid furniture provided a welcome sense of cosy permanence that is often lacking in more styled cafes.
From an appealing menu, Eggs Florentine (£6.95) and an All Day Breakfast (£6.50) were chosen… though conveying this to the people responsible for acting on our decisions took some time. Although this slow service fed into an all-round atmosphere of unhurried amiability, we more than once found ourselves shuffling in our seats and blinking endearingly at the staff for attention.
Once ordered, the food arrived at a normal pace. Surprise reigned though, as a sizzling bowl of hot cheese was put down and I tried to remember what I had chosen. The precise rules of Eggs Florentine are unclear to me, but I had believed they might include something about a muffin? Nonetheless, the power of suggestion on a frail mind is a powerful thing and in that moment, hot cheese soup was exactly where I was at. Eggs and spinach soon emerged from the soup, and while not as fresh, or as carby as I’d visualised, the grease and sizzle of the thing turned out to be a more than acceptable hangover cure. Meanwhile, I’m told the All Day Breakfast looked better than it tasted.
If the food was only okay, Pullens is still a reliable and kindly place to while away a breakfast and soothe a jittery head, though it's probably best to arm yourself with plenty of circuitous chat, as the whiling could go on for some time.