Fernandez & Wells, Soho
73 Beak Street
020 7734 1546
by Armand Croissant
Brightness, cleanliness: the polish of light wood, the glint of light from the coffee machine, the low murmur of awakening media types. Open, airy, the breakfasting half of Fernandez & Wells is as welcome as a half-bottle of flat coke to a hungover student – sweet, refreshing, life-saving. Oh, I could rhapsodise about the friendly staff, the glass of water placed – unasked - reverently and carefully beside the brimming, white perfection of the latte; the puffy, slightly sugary taste of the croissant. But instead I choose as my poetic theme the black pudding and egg mayonnaise sandwich. Oh gods, who have banished the black pudding from the ordinary breakfast table, why hast thou done such a thing? A light, biscuity roll, slightly toasted, with just enough creamy egg and two slices of the black stuff; such a sandwich might have graced the plates of decadent, syphilis-struck Spanish dons, exiled to the sweltering madness of Mexico.
And what is more is that Fernandez & Wells have a lunch place too, on Lexington Street, which in the evening transforms itself into a wine shop. Although the prices slightly creep towards the expensive, it is worth it, and after going there one can never quite face the stodgy horror of Pret a Manger again. Which is bad for the coffers, but good for the soul, and as everyone knows, there is no wealth anyway but the wealth of the soul.