Camden Kitchen, Camden Town
102 Camden High St
020 7485 2744
by Malcolm Eggs
The litmus test of a breakfast-serving restaurant is exactly the same as it is in secondary school chemistry. Ask any crawling rag man lost in the desert and he'll confirm: it's the tap water, old chap - water is our right, not just as customers, but as life forms. In the Camden Bar & Kitchen they eschew the two most common options, here listed in order of frequency, of (a) not bringing the water or (b) bringing the water. Instead, they inform you of the existence of a jug on the bar from which you are welcome to help yourself. They are tap water Blairites, the Daily Mail would say.
Having imbibed a sizeable quantity of red wine, lager and champagne the previous night I downed my first tumbler of water in a single gluckgluck and spent much of my stay in some sort of transit between table and jug. The 'Kitchen Breakfast' (£6.95) was a classic spread (with tomato instead of beans) but for the introduction of what they call a 'potato cake'. It was a tumultuous affair. The sausage was great, all hot and herbed-up, but the garlic mushrooms were cold. The ciabatta toast had an arty crunch, but the potato cake was surreal. The fried eggs were impossible to fault ("I felt they were my eggs" said my dining companion), but the bacon was cold.
Asked to testify about this breakfast whilst under oath, I would remark that the positives outweighed the negatives, that I have even been back for lunch since (it was halloumi salad and it was excellent), and that I still think about it with a residual fondness, the specific source of which proves elusive.