The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jack's, Queens Park

Jack's
101 Salusbury Road
Queens Park
NW6

by Scott Cheigg

It was with some incredulity that I found myself walking into Jacks again, given that on two previous visits I had cause to complain twice about something or other. We entered trepidatiously and approached the counter.

- “A bottle of still water and a glass of ice, please.”
- "We have no bottles of still water."
- "A glass of tap water with lots of ice?"
- "We have no ice."
- "You have no bottled water or ice?"
- *shrugs*

Bemused, my companion ordered scrambled eggs, straight up, and I a vegetarian breakfast and fresh orange juice. We repaired to the street-side seating and noted that the window display next to us consisted entirely of bottles of water; Lemon and Siberian Ginger. Tangerine and Ginkgo Biloba and so on. My companion went next door to a grocer's to purchase a bottle of common or garden water and I took the opportunity to request that my 'cup of bottomless tea' be of the peppermint variety. Behold the dialogue:

- "Sorry, we can't do that."
- "It’s just a tea bag! Instead of putting an English Breakfast bag
in the pot, you just put a peppermint bag in!"
- "We don't have any peppermint tea. Only green."
- "Green tea's fine. Thanks."
- “I'm not sure we can do that..."
- "You're kidding…"
- "Well, okay, but just this once."

Jacks, you are jackasses. I would have you closed down and the lot of you carted off to New York to study Customer Service because I do not think you would know Customer Service if it smashed you repeatedly in the face with a house brick emblazoned with the legend 'Customer Service' whilst screaming "I am Customer Service" in alternate ears.

There is no word to save thee.

Truly, thou art damned.

17 Comments:

Blogger Gata said...

I really enjoy reading this blog. I find it hard to find a good breakfast in London (besides the ubiquitous English Breakfast, which fills not only my appetite but my arteries as well.) At least now I have a few more ideas of where to eat next time I visit (and if I wake up before the afternoone.)

4:26 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Gata said...

Oh, and sorry I went Shakespeare on the word "afternoon". I hate typos.

4:28 PM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a great old fashion breakfast can be had at the cafre parisienne in battersea sw11 if you are ever in the area.

6:16 AM, October 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this doesnt really give you any info about what jacks offers.

maybe they dont cater for people with eccentric tastes in tea.

it does however offer a decent value for money fry up. with options to exchange items. ie have 2 rashers of bacon instead of 1 rasher and one banger.

jacks isnt a great cafe. but dont just turn your nose up at it because of this reviewer and his peppermint tea fetish. makes me think maybe he was the one being rude, not the staff.

jacks is usually quite busy, you may have to wait a few mins for a table but service is usually pretty quick and it is clean and has a nice atmosphere.

2:21 PM, October 10, 2006  
Blogger London Review of Breakfasts said...

Thank you for your comment, Anonymous. For a while now, I've been meaning to post an alternate account which Herby Banger wrote by accident, not realising the prior existence of Scott Cheigg's review, which I think makes a very fair point about the oft-herculean quest to acquire still water and his verdict is obviously not based on an isolated visit. However, Herby has a different perspective of the Jack's experience, and it'd be a crying shame to waste his words, so over to you Mr Banger:


It’s been a fact of Herby Banger’s life that over the last few months I have had little time to sit down and enjoy a breakfast and appraise it for LRB. It has been a forced, unwanted sabbatical, thrust upon me by the wanton practice of professional slavery that infests the media industry. Happily I am but weeks from being shot of my present employers where henceforth my time can again be mine. What shall I do? Catch up with the London breakfasting landscape that’s for sure.

As a sort of warm up I managed to Jack’s eatery which is on Salusbury Road in Queens Park and lies tantalizingly close to my present offices. I have been eyeing this place for sometime now and here was my reward for many early starts and late finishes.

A throng of activity during the lunch hours, I managed to get a seat with my paper in tow. I go for the Double…2 bacon, 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 2 toast, beans, mushrooms, 2 hash browns and bottomless tea or coffee to boot. Not bad for £5.25.

The breakfast in actuality doesn’t disappoint. It’s massive, almost more than I dare to handle, and all cooked with aplomb. It’s the kind of breakfast one might rustle up at home if you had the timekeeping skills of a Swiss watchmaker and the coordination of Jackie Chan. The bacon’s crisp, the sausages well above run-of-the-mill, and the poached eggs loose and sprightly, as if laid by a cat that listens to freeform Jazz.

Many other options adorn the menu of diversity. Do you dare try the triple? Or the ‘Yankee’ with its pancakes and syrup or the ‘Fruity’ with the injection of health.

With efficient service, generous and fine ingredients Jack’s stands out as a quality breakfast haunt, and great value for money.

HB

2:53 PM, October 10, 2006  
Anonymous Scott Cheigg said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous,

With reference to the specific points raised, above:

1. Jacks offers bad customer service. If it now offers good customer service, I expect it is because they sacked the entire staff.

2. Tangerine and Ginkgo Biloba, I'd argue, is eccentric, and Jacks sell plenty of it. Mint tea is not eccentric when every grocer store in the land sells it.

3. Value for money is as nothing when offset by appalling service.

4. I will turn my nose up at any cafe I choose if they offer appalling service. If jacks offer good service, I will not turn my nose up at it. Credit where credit is due. On three occasions they deserved no credit.

I have learned my lesson.

When it comes to interaction with service staff I take great care to be unfailingly polite, since I know what it is to be abused and condescended by the public.

It was not I, Sir, who was guilty of rudeness, and I'll thank you not to insinuate it.

Good day to you.


S. Cheigg

12:08 PM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger katty said...

you are wrong. jacks may not have the most amazing waiting service, but it is notorious in the area for its sparkling personality and fabulous redbricked walls. if you did not notice the charm of this gorgeous little eatery then that is your loss.Who can say no to bottomless tea? bravo, jacks, bravo.

1:27 PM, June 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first review is laughable.

The second review actually tells me what i want to know.

12:05 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger freeboprich said...

I am not a London resident, however on each of my overnight visits to my brother's place in Wandsworth I have made it customary to visit Jack's on Lavender Hill near Clapham Junction.

As much as the level of service has varied from waitress to waitress, the professionalism was guaranteed and friendliness assured no matter how fussy I am about my veggie options. If fact I've noticed them catering to all kinds of whims which would normally test the patience of the server.

I can report that the veggie Yankee is a success and there's nothing like plenty of bottomless "old fashioned caff" style coffee to wash it down with. There's plenty of variety too to try something different each time I'm around.

I like the place so much that I've started dragging my girlfriend there before dropping her off at the airport. If I was living around there I probably wouldn't visit all too often as it's not exactly cheap by my standards, but it's certainly a treat!

1:37 AM, February 07, 2009  
Anonymous Bill said...

Hi,

I live in the area and have eaten there only twice. I say 'only twice', because the food is terrible and I only went back the second time to see if had improved.....it hadn't.

Everyone that goes there knows the food is terrible. It's just because it's cheap and convenient that people go back.

That said, different strokes for different folks and some people are obviously quite happy with the quality, and that's fine, but it's not for me, as I like my beans warm, my sausages cooked and my eggs not to taste of vinegar.

As I say though, that's just me.

Best,


Bill

6:03 PM, February 12, 2009  
Anonymous Scott Cheigg said...

I found - no, seriously - washing instructions in my scrambled eggs at Jacks, in November of last year.

Washing instructions.

I assume they'd fallen off a towel and had been cooked with the eggs.

When I pointed it out to the waitress (I had almost finished them when I spotted the alien) she asked if I wanted another egg. I did not.

When I got to the till they charged me full price.

"You were offered another egg", she said.

Unbelievable.

Before anyone gets on their 'why did you go back' high-horse; I went back because my friend was choosing where to eat and she likes their milkshakes. I am not above giving somewhere a second, third, fourth or fifth chance, especially now when they're giving away free gifts with their scrambled eggs.

5:57 PM, April 17, 2009  
Blogger badger42 said...

It's been many years since I either lived in Queens Park, or indulged in the lovely lardfest that is the Great English Breakfast, but I would urge you to wander to Kilburn Lane and try the Star Cafe.
When I lived in QP (about eight years ago) it was my Saturday morning go-to place after a Friday night out, for their fry-ups were both massive and cheap.
Eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, chips, beans, fried bread and a pukka mug of tea for just under (back then) a fiver.
Not much on decor or atmosphere, but, hell, who wants poncey artifice when you can shuck off your metro skin and rub shoulders with the proletariat in a bout of solidarity through heart attack...

11:42 PM, August 26, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This place is an embarrassment to the friendly inviting face of queens park. Went in today and ordered a tuna nicose salad to go. I got a box of lettuce , two olives and a piece of cucumber. The server read the ingredients from the blackboard and left hand of them out. I said I'm starting to wonder what's in my sorry salad and I got some deranged bully ( he saud he was the owner) snatch the salad away and said don't buy it if you don't want it. I saud it's full of lettuce he didn't have a reply as it wasn't even full with lettuce . He then aggressively stood in front of me and said well leave. I thought I was in queens park not a mans prison at dinner time. Ihad my child on his scooter at the door petrified for his life. Close this place down the food is crap, service terrible and the owner thinks he is above keeping customers happy

12:20 PM, July 29, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad not just me- AWFUL

6:07 PM, July 29, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more - it's awful there

12:58 PM, September 13, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the staff are FIT

12:57 AM, May 22, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being my local cafe / diner i have given it more than enough opportunities to redeem itself from far to many bad previous experiences there, however my last meal was a the final straw.

We were seated then ignored for 40 minutes until we finally managed to get hold of a waitress so we could order our food. Her knowledge of the menu was very poor and involved us having to point at things on the menu so that we could order. Then the food came, and the waitress only brought out 2 knife and forks for the 3 of us and one of the dishes was the wrong thing. Waitress disappears again... Then i realised in my chicken dish there was a fried / cooked Daddy long legs spider that had obviously been there during the chicken being cooked. I then asked to speak to the manager, he was very rude and told me its not a daddy long legs its a mosquito! to which i asked what does it matter either of them shouldn't be in my food and he replied with "Well I'm just correcting you!

It was a daddy long legs especially given the length of its legs! LOL

Its appalling anyone in the food industry can have this attitude! He didnt even apologise. Every meal i have ever had there has been poor quality food and awfully rude service.

Stay away!

For a better breakfast and a great service try Hugo's, just down the road from Jacks!

1:15 PM, August 18, 2012  

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