Gracelands, Kensal Green
118 College Rd
020 8964 9161
Breakfast served: Monday - Friday 8.30am - 4pm, Saturday 9am - 4pm, Sunday 9.30am - 3pm
by Armand Croissant
Toddlers engage in vituperative yells. Flustered parents who work in the media ignore them. The noise! It is not the best place for a hangover. Everything is bright. So bright! I don’t want to buy t-shirts made by locals. I don’t want to use blue plastic mugs. I don’t want to come to a massage session. Where would you lie down? On the tables? I don't think I want to be pummelled by any of the six-foot-tall muscular staff. And why do you have to queue to order when all any sensible breakfaster wants to do is sit down and guzzle water until the food comes? Your correspondent is tempted to leave. And yet… is that elegant memoirist Lady Liza Campbell in the corner, deep in conversation with up and coming novelist Philip Womack? Is that gremlin-like journo-cum-playwright Toby Young besieged by small creatures that appear to be his children? Is that actress Tamsin Greig looking bohemian and graceful in the corner? Have I stumbled into the Groucho of Kensal Rise?
What could it be that these people find here? The service is chaotic – but at least friendly. My food is hawked round several tables and I have mentally murdered several munchkins before it arrives - but what a pleasure when it does. Eggs are runny of yolk and crispy of edge; the toast is little slivers of buttered perfection; the bacon clumped with a glueyness of baked beans is like a remnant from some medieval feast – primal and hearty. It almost goes without saying that the almond croissant is fluffy, light, creamy and sprightly like a young boulevardier taking his first walk on a spring morning in Paris, arm-in-arm with a flighty young filly who won’t go further than a kiss.
One can forgive the wait. And the toddlers - they’ll grow up soon. The food’s worth it. I'll bide my time.