Eat 17, Walthamstow
28-30 Orford Road
020 8521 5279
by Cathy Latte
Me: "No way."
Him: “But Mandy Parnell lives there.”
Me again: “Who?”
Him “Mandy Parnell - the best mastering engineer in London. She lives there.”
Me, getting annoyed: “Why is that in any way helpful to me?”
Him: ‘She’s really nice. And there’s a little village with cafes and shops that I reckon you would like. They have loads of that granny floral tat like that dress you always wear – you’ll love it.”
Me: “So you want us to move there because of a woman I’ve never met and a second hand shop?”.
But it doesn’t matter what I’m saying. I’ve clocked his look, the one he gets when he’s been mulling something over for a while and decided now’s the time to spring it on me. He’s serious.
“Fuck”, I think.
Two weeks later I’m walking up Orford Road (5 mins from Walthamstow tube) - I’ve poked my head in the nice furniture shop (lovely floral prints), read the community notice board (‘Save the post office!’, ‘We’ve got the playground rebuilt!) and my thoughts of a little island on a boggy marsh where feral greyhounds race along pavements tearing out children’s eyeballs are dissipating, fast.
Eat 17 is a new establishment. Half deli, half restaurant café. Blatantly business is booming. Intellectual looking tweeds are plucking not-particularly-cheap ryes stuffed with raisins and rosemary from bursting shelves, happy babies are pointing chubby fingers at alarmingly good looking cakes.
We order waffles in the restaurant – their mainstay. These aren’t dirty greasy waffles – but fluffy ones, with locally sourced ingredients. They come with toppings like smoked salmon, vege bene, full English’s and whatever else you might like.
Now to be honest, the food isn't spectacular, but it is good and they do serve breakfast ‘til 4pm. And the service isn't amazing, but it really isn't bad. But as a whole experience it is a pleasant one. And for me that breakfast seals it.
I call the estate agent that night and leave a message on the answer machine: "we'll take it".
An update written on 27 March 2008: Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday, or that the sun’s suddenly burst out from behind the clouds. Or could it be that my eating this breakfast with a front row view of the pigeons’ pre-coital kissing, 'the act' and seeing the mother settling down gently and maternally onto her nest has softened the blow of last night? Maybe it’s because as I sip at my glorious morning smoothie of mango and honey I’m reading Malcolm’s breakfasty words of wisdom and it's sent me off dreaming of Indiana Jones on a trail for golden eggs, of eggy altercations on wave crashed British coastlines and I have no choice but to glow. Or maybe it’s just that this breakfast is really, really great.
Oh Eat 17, I am sorry. I have done you a disservice. Your waffles are fluffy, your eggs blobby, your sausages warm and spicy, your mushroom so full and fresh, your beans cascading into a hot, saucy shape. I was wrong, and this Latte is happy to admit it. I bow before you for you truly are the Queen of Walthamstow. Stand resplendent, proud and tall on this the brow of the Village hill, let the eggy soldiers salute you as I do. For the E17 breakfasting crown is forever bestowed to you.