Bleeding Heart Tavern, Clerkenwell
Bleeding Heart Yard
off Greville Street
020 7242 2056/8238
by Mama Lade
Why should weekends have all the breakfast fun? Preparing to do battle with Wednesday, that's when you really need the nutritional armour - and it's so soothing to consider, as you sculpt castles in your kedgeree, that others are hard at work. The Bleeding Heart Tavern opens at 7:00, so you could be at your desk by 8:30, but where's the schadenfreude in that? Papa Lade and I sedately took our seats at 9:00. The window framed a Lowry-like scene of scurrying workers, miserably scarfing breakfast bars and cardboard coffee. Watching them only sharpened our need for good food to insulate us from a bad world.
The menu was encouraging, the atmosphere pleasantly casual. The service in fact was so casual it frequently bordered on vague...but somehow the lack of slickness was appealing and when my haddock arrived and the toast was soggied by inadequately drained poaching liquid, it really didn't matter. It felt homely. And the vast, smoky fish was perfectly cooked, complemented by a plump poached egg and lashings of thick, no-nonsense hollandaise. His lordship had the full English: Suffolk bacon, spanking good sausages, two pretty fried eggs, brown toast, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, addictive fried potatoes. The one quibble was "our very special home-made baked beans". Tasty, but all wrong. Breakfast demands the gloopy goodness of non-special baked beans made by machines. Anything more sophisticated misses the point. That aside, our breakfast worked. We were fortified, ready to face the worst. Even the posse of industrious Lowry-ites, polluting the best meal of the day with a "meeting" at the table next to us, could not spoil our mood.