S & M Café, Islington
4-6 Essex Road
020 7359 5361
by Poppy Tartt
Francis Bacon is said to have enjoyed a good whipping every morning before breakfast. I reminded Slave X of this, when he demurred a little at his preprandial caning. “The finest philosophers in all the land were masochists,” I said sternly, “and they were not even lucky enough to be treated to a slap-up meal at S & M Café.” “Slap up?” he mumbled nervously. “For this pathetic show you will wear your nipple-clamps throughout breakfast,” I commanded.
If, like myself, you find the touch of bean on egg as unsavoury as a paedophile’s handshake, you could do no worse than to order the S & M All Day Breakfast. Oh Jesus, Mary, and the Marquis de Sade! I could have run five thousand miles without stopping, screaming all the way: my egg, my sacred egg, was covered, entirely covered with beans!!!! “Slave X!” I cried, ripping the gag from his mouth, “Crawl on your knees to the kitchen and find me the chef who dared to degrade his ingredients so!”
Meanwhile I observed the extreme heat of the venue, the insufferable volume of the music, the inexplicably long queue for a table. Whilst the salvagable remains of the breakfast were perfectly adequate, there were no hash browns, an unforgivable oversight. The tea was so hot it might have been brewed in molten lava and it never cooled – a fire-eater would have been off work the next day after one mouthful. This was certainly a plus. By this time Slave X had re-emerged, bearing the brand of a frying pan upon his cheek. “Let me deal with this!” I said, cuffing him about the ear. I took out my riding crop and strode towards the kitchens.