Est Presso, Stansted Airport
International Departure Lounge
01279 681 400
by Des Ayuno
It was 6am at Stansted. With sunrise over an hour away, I determined to force my body into functionality. Once through security, the faint memory of a competently toasted bagel sent me clockwise, past Est Est Est, past the inevitable Wetherspoons, past the four bright-eyed, optimistic waiters of the Caviar House Seafood Bar, until somehow I arrived blearily back where I’d started. Round and round the miserable hamster-wheel of a terminal I dragged myself until outside Pret it hit me. That lonely source of edible airport food was at Luton. Never had World of Whiskies’ neon sign beckoned me so temptingly. With a sigh, I slunk into Frankie & Benny’s. The menu offered bagels. The heated glass case displayed what looked like roadkill sandwiched inside something whose very existence was an insult to Jews everywhere.
On to Est Presso next door. Not being a Sun reader, I don’t hold with puns before breakfast, but in desperation ordered a proper cappucino – easy on the milk, an unnecessary request in less sophisticated gaffs than this supposedly Italian chain – and an apricot danish. The youngster manning the coffee machine handed them over with a shit-eating grin. The weight of the paper cup instantly betrayed the presence of at least half a pint of sick-makingly lukewarm milk. The espresso could have been dishwater for all I could taste of it. The danish may have been acceptable had it not been served at fridge temperature. I could only take comfort in the fact that in order to attend a single brief meeting, I would pass through Bergamo airport twice in the next 15 hours, where anyone who served coffee like that would be sentenced to a state execution, if not stabbed to death with plastic spoons first by a mob of mortally offended Milanesi.