41 Farringdon Road
020 7404 4422
by Phil English
Before I move on to describing a truly marvellous breakfast, I would like to address you on the unholy trinity of syphillis, buggery and condoms. As an amateur observer of socio-linguistic developments, as well as a professional breakfaster, I am interested in the way we attribute certain activities and objects to other nations. Thus, when they were engaged in squalidly trying to knock each other's heads off in the sixteenth century, the French took to referring to the pox as "Le mal italien" and the Italians said rightbackatcha, bringers of the "French disease". Similarly, the French accuse my countryfolk of "le vice anglais" and we counter that another postal strike would be welcome if you were expecting a letter from a Frenchman.
Which brings me to the subject of French toast. Presumably this is an Americanism. In England we call it eggy bread. Which is accurate and uninspired, but not offensive. Perhaps this xeno-specific appelation is a homage to pain-perdu, but I think that it's probably more along the lines of the dubious monikers above. As in, "Hey Hank, check out this toast; it's all eggy and shit. Those French dudes, man. They suck!" In these times of renaming the potato chip for reasons of geo-political outrage, I shall henceforth be terming the dish Freedom Toast. Vive La France.
I and my colleague Padraig Oates, who for the record did not order an Irish coffee, had an absolutely sumptuous breakfast at Flaneur. Oddly, though, for an overtly Gallic joint, they refer to the above dish by its American name. Still, it came rich and crispy with delicious smoked bacon and maple syrup. Mr Oates had neutral, United Nations, toast with bacon and scrambled eggs. Plus freshly squeezed orange juice, a nice pot of tea and a cup of good coffee, all for a very reasonable sum, which currently escapes me. But, where were you guys? There was no-one there. This place is serving breakfast and it's doing it now. Go.