The Gate, Newington Green
11 Albion Rd
020 7923 9227
by Mama Lade
Ah, the joys of global warming. They tell me it's November, but we walked to the Gate café through sunbeams thick enough to make you fall in love. Hardly a challenge round here; Newington Green is brimming with young couples. Shell-shocked by the trench warfare of house-buying, they cling to each other a little desperately, hoping it will all be worth it. This cocktail of climate change and financially precarious romance must be what keeps the Gate busy; the befuddled locals don't notice the food. But Papa Lade and I are clear-eyed. After all we are renting, and love breakfast more than each other.
He chose the Full English (as he always does) announcing he wasn't going to eat it all so he wouldn't feel sick (as he also always does). It will surprise no-one that this plan failed, but this was due to the hunger of a hangover, not the quality of the breakfast, which was decidedly average. Actually, the bacon was quite good, but I wasn't feeling charitable. This is why: overcooked scrambled egg on dry bread that had never known the touch of butter. Lonely strips of smoked salmon huddled in the shadow of tasteless tomatoes beyond even the help of salt. An utterly pointless dusting of gritty herbs around the edge of the plate. Tinned pineapple in the "fresh" fruit salad. And a bill just shy of £30. Oh, the wanton abuse of innocents too terrified by interest rates to notice what's on their forks. But the atmosphere was oddly upbeat. The sun seemed to remind everyone of a time when they didn't know what subsidence was. Even Papa Lade, feeling sick, with HP on his nose, looked surprisingly loveable. The Gate, I realised, has its charms. But food is not one of them.