The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Friday, April 07, 2006

Café Seventy Nine, Primrose Hill

Café Seventy Nine
79 Regents Park Road
Primrose Hill

by Corin Flakes

Much to the chagrin of this devoted carnivore, Café Seventy Nine is a vegetarian joint with organic inclinations – even its cutlery, you suspect, is eco-friendly and ethically sound. The breakfast menu is rudimentary but warmly nostalgic, with a deferential (almost schoolboy-ish) nod to the primacy of bread: beans on toast, mushrooms on toast, cheese on toast… It’s also hugely expensive. In this town, it seems conscience costs.

Tastefully decorated but unmanageably small, it took Ed Benedict and me some time to lever ourselves - through a flux of inelegant, breathless contortions - into a cavity in the corner. This is not a cafe for reading papers; unfolding a broadsheet could feasibly endanger the chef’s view of his grill. Unbowed by claustrophobia, the clientele managed to radiate wealth and riotous fertility; their macro-biotic babies yelped precociously in designer dungarees.

Ed, with palpable glee, went for the vegetarian breakfast, something you’d reasonably expect the kitchen to excel at (especially for an immoderate £6.75). Regrettably, it was a disjointed affair – the scrambled eggs were inconsistent, glowing yellow with hypnotic, nuclear effulgence. The sausages were parched, thumb-sized protrusions, flanked by stringent wheels of raw tomato. Thankfully, the commendable rustic bread delivered on its wholesome promise, but as for the mushrooms…

At £4.75 for mushrooms on toast you anticipate brilliance; sourced from a flourishing field, surgically sliced, heated tenderly in an ambrosial blend of garlic and butter… but no. Limp and nebulous, despite my avalanche of seasoning, the tastelessness and price combined to insult both palate and wallet. I prodded and probed despondently, while Ed, a cep-zealot of noted fervour, fell into silent melancholy.

We left morally emboldened, but financially and spiritually weak.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely agree. My guest and I plumped for the quiche and a bagel burger which we both enjoyed. A ladies who lunch place for sure which makes up for the something on toast menu but the highlight for me was a vertiginously tall, interminably long legged and excrutiatingly thin young lady who, with her 5" stilettos surely topped 7'.

11:12 AM, April 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went there for a coffee recently and met a cat on a leash, so the trip was worth it. I'm vegetarian but didn't even realise it was a veggie place ... if those prices are real, much prefer going to cheap places for a massive "Set 3" or whatever.

7:15 PM, December 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the food here is pretty mediocre and a little bird told me it is all bought from Sainsbury's...don't know whether that is tue but the granary bread is certainly flacid and sliced and for the price is an insult to the customer!

6:21 PM, February 07, 2009  
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3:48 PM, September 05, 2015  

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