Lakeland Café, Brent Cross
Brent South Retail Park
NW2 1LU (Map)
0208 830 8123
Open 9.30am - 7pm weekdays, 9.30am - 6pm on Saturday and 11am - 4pm on Sunday
by Nelson Griddle
It doesn’t get much more rock-and-roll than this. 11am on a crisp Sunday morning in January, and here I am at Brent South retail park to have breakfast in a kitchenware shop. Ignoring the lures of tomato peelers, tile-grouting whiteners and padded trouser hangers, my companion and I make our way to the spacious 3rd floor café.
There’s no waitress service, so having perused the menu, I go up to the counter to order. The service is efficient if not effusive, and if there’s anything unsatisfactory about our meal, we are invited to leave a written comment on a little card for somebody called “Yvonne”, who claims to be the Café Manager and assures us that she will do her very best to deal with any niggles we have.
Yvonne, are you ready? Niggle One is the tea. Maybe the water was not properly boiling when it was made, or maybe the tea itself is of poor quality. Either way, watch out, Yvonne, because this flavourless brew is hardly the stuff to fortify the mind and revive the spirit ahead of a long day shopping for sink tidies.
Niggle Two is the food. Now, call me hidebound and stuck-in-the-mud, but when I go half way round the North Circular in search of a good breakfast, I expect the offerings to be meaty and substantial. Yet Lakeland spurns such breakfast staples as bacon, sausage, black pudding and beans. The dishes here are mostly egg-based, and, dare one say it, a trifle ladylike. And although there’s nothing actually wrong with my dish of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and dill, there’s nothing tremendously right about it either. Anodyne more or less sums it up. My companion’s Eggs Florentine are better, featuring a nice Hollandaise sauce and some well-chosen ham, and I’m told the pain perdu is a highlight.
Yet who am I to diss the breakfasts at Lakeland, when at last I’ve found the thing my life has been lacking all these years: a dedicated stainless steel asparagus kettle!