Station Café, Kensal Rise
17 Station Terrace
020 8969 3922
by Stephen Fry-Up
Cautiously, we entered. At three o’clock the place was empty, save – of course – for the staff, and a doddery old timer at the corner table.
“Easter next week.” The old timer spoke; thank god it was not to us.
“Sure is, Mike.”
“You open Easter?”
“Open every day except Christmas, Mike.” (Here, perhaps, a note of pride?)
“Doubt I’ll even make it to Christmas.”
“’Course you will Mike. You’ll be here every day for the next ten years.”
“Ten years? I bloody well doubt it.”
“Alright. Two then.” At that the waiter went purposefully outside to stack some tables or something: one gets the impression that, at the Station Café in Kensal Rise, this conversation might be a fairly regular occurrence.
In my state of semi-confusion – what was I doing in Kensal Rise of all places? How had I even got here? – I was impressed by the waiter’s air of no-nonsense affability: he’d be friendly but no way was he going to stand and chat all day. “Not with all them tables to stack, boss,” he might just have said. I was also impressed, oddly, by the tablecloth – green gingham if I recall – and a particularly ugly-chic repro clock thing on the wall.
But the food! Get to the food! Well I shall, and it was mostly fabulous. Masses of mushrooms, crunchy hash browns, piping hot beans, adequate egg, cheaply peppery black pudding (which I rather like) and quite perfect bacon (fried right to the brink of blackness). And it all came to £4.50, I think. In short, the Station Café is great. And it’s right by the overland station, so you can get back to Hackney pretty sharpish too.