The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Smallfish, Shoreditch


372 Old St
020 7739 2252

by Malcolm Eggs

A couple of weeks ago I was completely unable to stop listening to a song called ‘Black Cab’ – a sad, lolloping ode to weary drunken transport by a Swedish singer named Jens Lekman. Cathy Latte has been similarly afflicted, so we decided to spend part of a Friday morning seeking out his back catalogue at Smallfish Records. We arranged to meet in the basement café.

I arrived first and ordered a bacon and egg sandwich (asking that my bacon be crispy) then sat at a table and looked through a newspaper. The absence of music gave the room a strangely tranquil atmosphere, for a record shop. Something about it was reminiscent of a student common room at daybreak, perhaps the fact that the only other customer was wearing a beanie and frowning over a Japanese fanzine. Cathy soon turned up. She decided on a health-drenched dish involving raspberries, granola and natural yoghurt.

I didn’t expect much, this being primarily a place of vinyl, plastic and thumbs. I certainly didn’t expect over a week later to still be thinking about the sandwich from time to time, about how the bread was so fresh, so thick, so crusty, so tasty; how the bacon was generous and cooked to a wonderful dark scarlet as if plucked directly from my imagination; and how the eggs detonated across all of the aforementioned as if fulfilling some Tiresian prophesy. I didn’t expect that at all. It’s made me forget about ‘Black Cab’ entirely.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was great cafe but unfortunately it is now permanently closed.

12:30 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the woman who ran smallfish is setting up a new place as we speak in The Grocery just round the corner on Kingsland Road so you souldn't have to wait much longer for a good breakfast in shoreditch. In the meantime The Diner on Commercial St does beautiful blueberry pancakes!

10:15 AM, February 15, 2007  

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