The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Special dispatch: Bill’s, Lewes, East Sussex

Bill's Produce Store
56 Cliffe High Street
Lewes BN7
01273 476 918

by Orva Easy

“Toast and jam?” no. “Cheese on toast?” no. “Baked beans on toast?” no. A short and sullen pause. Then a churlish whisper. “Marmite.”

There is, in truth, only one solitary snag in eating your breakfast at Bill’s and that is the necessity, due to its popularity, of sharing a table with a skinny, neurotic, ineffectual East Sussex dairy-phobe and her ghastly little shitbag of a son. This tiny tyrant, urged on by his mother’s apparent inability to digest anything more complex than pureed wheatgrass, refused to eat anything on the menu, left his marmite-soaked crusts and was (rightly, in my opinion) outraged when the ‘slush puppy’ his idiot mother had promised him with false and misplaced cunning appeared as a freshly-squidged, e-number and sugar-free fruit smoothie. He refused even to try it. I contemplated dumping it over his head.

Fortunately, this is a small price to pay to languish in a breakfaster’s paradise. Bill’s Breakfast is a mountain of steaming deliciousness, precariously balanced on a rectangular plate and thoughtfully garnished with a sprig or two of tasty little purple salad leaves. Everything is organic, the eggs sing of fresh air, good feed and weekly shed-screenings of Chicken Run and you can practically taste the boundless bliss that filled the life of your bacon, skipping with joy even unto the waiting arms of the butcher. What sweet tears he must have wept to see piggy's trusting little eyes squinting up at him as the sun glinted on his big shiny knife.

For a moment, Mrs Milk-free was transfixed, horrified, by my empty plate, licked clean of the last dribble of grease and egg yolk. The jug of soya milk hung in the air; her offspring took the opportunity to stick his snotty finger in the communal Marmite. Then she ran. A breakfast well taken, I thought to myself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

great review - you capture the Bills' vibe exactly, but probably should add that it is mobbed with pensioners on a saturday morning and at other times there is always one hanging about your elbow wishing you to finish up
p.s. some one should try Kalendar in Swains lane, that is the best breakie in nw5, you wont be disappointed.

4:50 PM, July 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Bill's do a fine breakfast, and a lunch that's no worse. Mention should be given to the pretty, lissome young things behind the counter too. I hope that the recent opening of new branches of this establishment won't affect standards. The churlish might say that the fuit and veg they sell doesn't seem to be as high quality as the fruit and veg they cook with....

5:30 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the pretty lissome young things behind the counter do tend to get fired quite a bit. With no notice. And sometimes for not smiling quite enough. Their smiles could be just that teeny bit fake because nearly all the frontline staff work long shifts with short breaks (perhaps 10 hours with just 1 half hour unpaid break), no free lunch. For the minimum wage. And just one free cup of coffee for an 8 hour shift.

9:09 AM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous sara said...

If Bill can't treat his staff as good as his pigs as they trot smiling into the arms of their butcher-brothers; then maybe we need to sign a protest to support our waiting staff. Empathy, kindness and support are needed overall then food goes down without a lump in the throat of indifference.

I'm coming to Brighton to see Bill.

1:51 PM, June 26, 2007  

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