The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Bermondsey Kitchen, Bermondsey

The Bermondsey Kitchen
194 Bermondsey Street
020 7407 5719

by H. P. Seuss

All too occasionally, a breakfast achieves such brilliance it inspires the reviewer not only to dispense with his usual post-modernisms, but to change the way he thinks about breakfast itself. So, Anonymous, you curmudgeonly turd, here are 300 words trained not on my own "suffering pretentiousness", but on an epiphanic plate set before Malcolm Eggs and me one Sunday in SE1. No jokes here.

We appeared to have missed the 2pm breakfast cut-off at the open plan Bermondsey Kitchen. The maitre d', gesturing to hysterical tables and frantic chefs in the kitchen theatre, promised us a long, unfulfilling wait. It was only my considerable charm that convinced him to accommodate us at all. Two Set Breakfasts (£9.15 each) ordered themselves.

Our wait was reasonable. The poached egg arrived pert and robust - unimpeachably fresh. The bacon, all four streaks, combined that malty sweetness we enjoy in the American rasher with the mature saltiness of its English cousin. The sausage had tangy, umami qualities. The mushroom was charred and chewy, the tomato zesty, and both were - correctly - supporting players.

The BK's main innovation is wilted spinach, which blankets their fried new potatoes (which tasted baked). I never thought something green might make such a convincing case for election to the "Magic Nine" cabal of ingredients. But get this: when properly steamed, spinach fulfills all the roles of beans (lubrication, freshening) with a few advantages (insulating the potatoes, aiding digestion) and none of their drawbacks (swamping, teeming). Its Florentine sympathies with egg are well-documented. But who knew bacon would so like its company? A velvety treat.

The maitre d' should not do his colleagues down; even given the lunchtime rush, his colleagues achieved casual, magical, moreish perfection.


Blogger Lost Boy said...

I live round the corner and went once for brunch. Brunch ended at 3. It was 2.40 but they refused to let me have a brunch menu. I left.

2:32 PM, January 18, 2007  

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