Regency Café, Pimlico
17 - 19 Regency St
020 7821 6596
by Gracie Spoon
The Regency Café provoked a series of gleeful squeals from the corner in which my breakfast companion and I sat. We were beside ourselves with delight, and here, I think, is why: in a town where cafes and bars rapidly open, shut, refurb and change management, contriving new vintage/ retro/ kitsch/ 80s/ 50s/ Victoriana styles accordingly, the idea that the beautiful Regency Café and its different-place- different-time world is for real was almost a shock. Established in 1946, this café’s deco exterior, tiled walls, gingham curtains, and formica tables indicate history, as opposed to the carefully-planned, good-looking irony we’d absorbed elsewhere. And upon hearing that the current owner bought the place from a family friend twenty years ago - inspiringly uncorporate music for our over-advertised to ears – well, squeak! And wow.
Tucked away on a quiet museum of a street in which the Regency is not the only pristinely-maintained anachronism, this place is a proud veteran of breakfasting. You order at the counter, and wait for your breakfast in a time-warp atmosphere so potent it almost moves in black and white. It’s not just the menu and the décor either. Another tenet of the old-fashioned English cafe is also borne out, (one often more clearly modelled by its counterpart: the old fashioned English pub): with the exception of me and my co-squealer, the other people in here are noticeably all men – massive, blokey, lorry-driver sized men.
Summoned back to the counter by the shout, "ONE EGG ON TOAST, MUSHROOMS, TOMATOS AND BUBBLE", my breakfast begins. It’s gorgeous. For around £4: explosively flavourful tomatoes gently frosted with char, a perfectly-fried egg slithering on brown toast of the exact right thickness… and the best bit? A crispy bubble and squeal.