Jocks Café, Acton
152 Horn Lane
020 8993 4456
by Chris P Bacon
A continental strumpet berates her nauseating child in the doorway, obstructing my entry. An elderly man, possibly centuries old, converses with a teenage builder about the state of British politics. Tea-soaked newspapers lie strewn across formica table surfaces, the fug of cigarette smoke hangs heavy in the still air. The atmosphere bodes well. This is a local greasy spoon, for local people, and it doesn't disappoint.
Tea and toast is presented in the correct manner i.e. as soon as possible after one's arrival (in order to stem the liver's rapid acceleration toward purgatory). A generously-sized platter is presented soon after, consisting of two eggs, two sausages (split and fried), bacon, beans and hash browns. Black pudding is offered, but refused. Whilst being a traditional part of the English breakfast offer, there are times when a blood-soaked, phallic tube of gristle is best avoided, and this is one of them.
The eggs are cooked to perfection – runny yolks but confident whites. The thick slices of bacon are lovingly fried; the beans and hash browns are average, but the sausages sublime. Toast is simple, liberally spread with butter, and the tea is splendid. Moreover, it is presented in a lovely warm mug, rather than the polystyrene monstrosities that so many "cafes" use these days.
Considering that all this comes in at less than five pounds, this café is something of a gastronomic revolution. The food, the atmosphere, the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd. It's all here, in abundance.