Flame Cafe Bistro, Highbury
246 St Paul's Rd
020 7354 1546
by Poppy Tartt
Several fasts were broken this morning. Petersen and Peterson and I, together again after months held apart by the Atlantic Ocean and the weight of our incompatible life choices, fell on each other like old friends reunited. (Which we were). We had expected Henry Pottinger, but he cried off, pleading a cookery course. A lucky escape for him, if you know how he feels about beans. No one, not even H. P., needs to spend Tuesday morning on their knees.
Flame is dark and hot and empty, like an unpopular brothel. (Though Peterson, still resisting the rebranding of the English summer, thought it chilly). We ordered tea. It was just the weak side of too strong, and the teabag was not in evidence. Thank god! The tea was good. Then the beans came. Petersen and Peterson (full English meaty and veggy, respectively) were strong. “It’s just like a caff breakfast!” Petersen said cheerfully. Brave in the face of mushrooms so wizened and oily they might have spent a lifetime tanning on the tackier beaches of southern Spain, she parted her pre-formed egg to show me the dusty yolk within. Peterson’s scrambled eggs had not been burnt and she was, as usual, disappointed. My ‘Flame Medi’ – garlic sausage, egg, halloumi, tomatoes and cucumber atop several slices of toast – was merciful, if not in any sense biblical.
Still, thank god I was saved from the monstrous beanslick polluting the plates of Petersen and Peterson. Thank god for halloumi! For halloumi I would kneel on a Tuesday. Yes, I thank Halloumi that where breakfasts are unpredictable three things at least are unchanging: the love between Petersen and Peterson and I; my fascination with their spectacular breasts; and Halloumi, mother of all cheeses – mother, perhaps, of us all.