The London Review of Breakfasts

"No more excuses. No more apologies. No more of these obvious, desperate breakfasts." (Skyler White)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Alpino, Islington

Alpino
97 Chapel Market
Islington
N1
020 7837 8330

by Egon Toast

Chapel Market, the spiritual heart of Islington life, is thrown into marked relief by its neighbour, the Mecca of Un-fun that is the 'N1 Centre'. As is eye-bogglingly evident to anyone with even the most boggle-resistant eyes, this botched, vainglorious plaza is vile and depressing, and thus when in the area, you must head across the road in protest and purchase a few pears, a bunch of carrots, a twin pack of brillo pads and possibly Phil Collins' latest oeuvre. And then take breakfast at Alpino's.

For of course, every spiritual centre needs its inner temple. It's a period masterpiece, a quiet, steamy-windowed haven. At the entrance, a hissing tea urn, and the friendliest welcome this side of your mum's house. We take our seats in one of the many booths, the banquettes stained a dark porphyritic red, and cast our eyes around the endearingly wonky fluted wall panels. We check the breakfast specials. The menu says, 'Open Since 1959'. Our breakfast has nigh-on 50 years of previous.

"Right, who's hungry?" calls Steve the amiable chef, emerging from the back with our laden plates. The beans, soggy scourge of the newly-buttered slice of toast, are husbanded expertly by flanks of mushroom and a handsomely sturdy egg. The ratio of sauce to pulse is professional, as is their temperature – as toasty as a cat-warmed blanket. The sausage – firm, with nary a hint of dryness; pork perfection in a membranous sac. The bacon – ample, neither floppy nor desiccated. The tomatoes – tinged with carbon, piping hot and firm.

Altogether, a breakfast compiled by a champion, demolished by a pair of star-struck wanderers, as around them hangs the hush of half a dozen traders, slurping their tea and checking the Racing Post. Praise be.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Des Ayuno said...

Visited yesterday and enjoyed a fine (and enormous) veggie breakfast for £4. Eggs in particular were magnificent.

7:48 PM, May 04, 2009  
Anonymous Gordon Bacon said...

Just enjoyed a Set 1 breakfast. Excellent stuff and good value.

3:04 PM, June 15, 2012  

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