La Vie en Rose, Hackney
2 Broadway Market
08710 751 155
by Des Ayuno
I was sharpening my teeth in anticipation of a visit to La Vie en Rose. Despite being able to tap into its free wireless from my bedroom, I’d never been, disgusted by both its history and the pest-control vans parked outside last January. Still, its reputation for moral and culinary decay promised an entertainingly spiteful review.
My dining companion, probably the only local who admits to liking the place, managed just a few bites of her toast. I plumped for the full (“House”) breakfast, which tasted like a well-intentioned but confused maman’s desperately cobbled-together meal for her hungover British exchange-student guest. Scrambled eggs were the highlight of the visit, equal parts egg and double cream, cooked in their own weight in butter. Toast made of cheap sliced white and brown, tolerable mushrooms, a solitary sausage and vile bacon rounded off England’s Sunday morning five-a-side. Playing from right to left for la France were a nice-ish rosemary-infused ratatouille and a sort of ploughman’s via the Languedoc: nasty, warm cheddar, two kinds of jamon, both horrid, and a spoonful of onion confit. Requested tomato ketchup was brought promptly, but with a raised eyebrow.
At £8 including a nice strong tea, it wasn’t terrible value. Professional service was dispensed by sufficiently handsome garçons. But though my money and time were sacrificed purely to warn you away, dear reader, I still felt like crying when I handed over the cash. There were queues out the door all day, as there always are. Each credit card-receipt signature they collect may as well be added to an ever-lengthening statement reading, “I hereby endorse your mercenary, shameless and and allegedly illegal ‘management’ of council property and related ‘Make Poor People History’ campaign”, and posted to Jules Pipe. We can only hope the local kids firebomb the place.