The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, April 03, 2006

The New Piccadilly, Soho


The New Piccadilly
8 Denman St

by Malcolm Eggs

A couple of turnings beyond little aluminium Eros, the New Piccadilly is a Formica-packed icon of countless bygone eras. Adrian Maddox, arch-champion of London’s increasingly endangered postwar Italian cafes, has called it “a place of worship”. Indeed you'd have to be a Mammon-hearted property developer not to adore the vintage pink and gold coffee machine, the chirpy looking stuffed peacock in the big glass tank, the bright twisted neon window sign that says ‘Eats’, or the menu that lives on an enormous white plastic horseshoe. Friendly staff patrol the tables in immaculate uniforms that are part concierge, part asylum warden and many of the clientele resemble Seventies disaster movie extras, except with worse hair. Basically it all looks magnificent, is always appearing in films and magazines, is a living museum of sorts. But as the owner Lorenzo (of the great restaurant-owning Marioni family) has said, “abito non fa il” – the habit doesn’t make the monk. Would the 'Egg Dishes' do justice to the stuffed peacock?

I ordered egg, bacon, chips and beans, partly in homage to that other great cafe scholar Russell Davies, partly because half the other patrons were chewing jubilantly on a variety of coiled crispy bacon that looked to be just the thing. But when it arrived, I was faced with a previously unencountered aberration: undercooked streaky. It was elastic and fatty. Devastated, I was left to seek solace in the eggs, chips and beans which, while being of aptly classical form, were nothing to burst into pig-indifferent song about. On my way to the door, I glowered enviously at someone else’s dusky crimson rashers, dismayed to have received a meal so commonplace in an institution that is so very out-of-the-ordinary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same Bacon experience for me last time I went (sigh)
I was impressed, however, with the sizeable 'Daily Sport' library they accumulate at the end of the counter.

11:05 AM, November 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments regarding the bacon as mine always appears deep-fried.

However, I felt then as I do now; the New Piccadilly is not a place to be visited for the cuisine because that is entirely in keeping with its post-war 'we shall not be moved' ethos. Visit for the comforting atmosphere of slightly melancholic nostalgia and the unsurpassed 50s decor. But most of all for the wonderful Lorenzo and his staff, the likes of whom will not be met anywhere else in central London.

Sadly, all things come to pass and the dear old NEW PICCADILLY WILL CLOSE FOREVER IN SEPT 2007.

Take a moment to pass the time of day with 'the Alan Sugar of light refreshment' when your money is rung into the ancient and magnificent cash register.

1:30 PM, August 06, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares