The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Friday, November 03, 2006

Broadway Cafe, Hackney

Broadway Cafe
58 Broadway Market
020 7684 1651

By Des Ayuno

The fact that your correspondent lives only metres from Broadway Cafe failed to make it a more appealing venue for a recent Saturday breakfast than bed (set menu: Berocca and extra-strength painkillers). Nevertheless, Joel the chef dragged me out, delivering a rousing speech about endurance and fortitude with the sincerity that only a man accustomed to 5am encounters with an industrial freezer-full of economy sausages could muster.

We’d long admired its window-dressing of neon starburst signs advertising over-apostrophed creations. A delicate tummy and suspicion of the quality of meat on offer (“Sausage Roll’s 70p”) left me with cowardly egg's and bean's on two toast's. But Joel’s bounteous plate contained virtually every breakfast item known to humanity, piled into a pyramid on an enormous foundation of bubble. Thick, smoky bacon, crispy-soft black pudding and tomatoes grilled to the point of collapse jostled for space with a pair of fried eggs blessed with yolks so pert and wobbly they could have starred in that Sun ad off the telly. With the exception of the long, skinny, orange Franken-sausages, each element was a model of its type. Plus, in a carbohydrate explosion, he got toast, white crusty bread, chips, hash browns and a fried slice.

The chef’s exacting standards were more than met. The super-strong tea alone made my visit worthwhile. The clientele included four paint-covered blokes with not much hair, a Dot Cotton-alike lighting a fag with a shaky hand, a quiet thirtysomething perusing his vinyl purchases, an organic vegetable-laden, Camper-shod young couple with baby, and us. We ignored our mild discomfort at being part of the latter, gentrifying party, rather than the former, local one, and ordered more tea. And after all the weather was ideal. We could not have had a more perfect day for breakfast if we had ordered it.


Blogger London Review of Breakfasts said...

Blake Pudding returned in October 2007. His observations were the following:

Our washing machine had packed up so I had been mixing with the working classes at the laundrette. They seemed like trustworthy, salt of the earth types so whilst my whites were washing I went over to the Broadway café for breakfast. I ordered the bacon, eggs, tomato, bubble and tea and took a seat by the window. Over the road, the Pie and Mash shop was doing a roaring trade. I have been longing to try proper East End pie and mash but I am terrified of asking for the wrong thing and being laughed out of the shop. What is the relationship between the pie and mash and the jellied eels? Is the pie an eel pie? What or who is liquor? I know I should go soon before they are all turned into Tesco Metros. My boundless culinary curiosity is in constant conflict with my innate shyness. I am reminded of a holiday in Palermo when I tried to order a roll filled with veal offal from a street vendor and I was looked at blankly despite the fact that it was the only thing sold at the stall. It was worth persisting though because they are veally good. My day-dreaming was interrupted by the arrival of my breakfast. It was all well prepared: gooey tomatoes and strong tea, rather like Nico’s on Cambridge Heath Road but without the gargantuan portions or the warm welcome. I returned to the laundrette sated; my washing had been stolen.

12:34 PM, August 16, 2010  

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