El Vergel, Borough
8 Lant St
0207 357 0057
Breakfast served: Mon to Fri 8am - 11am, Saturday 10.30am - 3pm
by Gracie Spoon
As with any complex relationship, living in London is a continual karmic balancing act. Do London a bad deed (ie: snarl at a TfL employee, or perhaps question the value of the 2012 Olympics) and it’ll most likely deal you a frustrating cross-town journey. But do London a good deed (ie: use a bin, chat to a stranger), and maybe it’ll reveal one of its secrets. El Vergel is just one such secret - and it was whispered to me in return, I think, for a suspenseful attempt to rescue a duck from a Peckham street.
Easy to miss, the unassuming entrance on a Southwark back street does little in terms of flagging up the imaginative and cheerful South American breakfasting within. Being a teeny place, eating becomes communal. One long, bench-flanked table is punctuated with clay jars of water, cutlery and pinchingly fresh homemade salsa: all very help-yourself. The Latin breakfast (£4.70) is a compilation of chorizo, kidney beans, ‘piquant’ scrambled eggs, village bread and tea or coffee, while £3.90 got me the veggie alternative: corn tortillas, beans, eggs and avocado. The scrambled eggs were pink, which, yes, certainly is weird, but also good, as this is the tasty ‘piquant’ part. Although fairly milky in texture, they grew and grew in warmth and depth. Elsewhere, kidney beans replace the usual sugared puddle of orange artifice, and give a wholesome, nutty oomph. Smoothing over it all is the avocado: a little treat.
El Vergel is a secret that’s now yours too. So go out and do something deserving of it.