Broadway Cafe, Hackney
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.