Toads Mouth Too, Brockley
188 Brockley Road
020 8469 0043
by Holly N. Daise
Is it a restaurant? Is it a café? One thing is for sure: Toads Mouth Too is a labyrinth of disappointment.
Stretching to cater for all possible mealtime requirements, the menu doesn’t really cover any of them in much depth. Breakfast fare includes fruit, muesli and a selection of pastries, but for the full English enthusiast, the only option here is the ‘Full Toad’ (toast, eggs, 2 bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans and choice of Cumberland sausage or chorizo).
If you enjoy the customisable aspect of your breakfast, then you may be frustrated by the occasional rigidity here. Poached egg appears to be beyond the ability of the chef, as is making small exceptions for individuality of taste. You can try asking them to swap various features, but this usually receives a despondent reaction.
On this occasion, I ordered the Full Toad and enquired about the possibility of swapping the mushrooms for a hash brown (a feature of the vegetarian equivalent). To my surprise this was agreed to with little resistance as my order was pecked into a handheld computerised gadget by the joyless waiter. Two clues into the Sunday crossword, I overheard a man on an adjacent table also asking for a mushroom/ hash brown swap, only to be told, “I can ask the chef, but I can’t guarantee he’ll do it.”
What is it exactly the chef finds so erratically difficult about spooning a hash brown onto a plate instead of some mushrooms?
Interrupting thoughts like this my food arrived and was a major letdown. Everything on the plate appeared to be swimming in a soup of tepid beans, the portion of chorizo was miserably small and the two pieces of bacon were welded together in an impenetrable embrace. For an order costing nearly £10 it was pretty dismal.
It’s a shame that the breakfast here is always so disappointing because the place itself has a lot of potential. There’s an assortment of charming subterranean rooms ornamented with original art and a surprisingly peaceful garden. These attractions plus the homemade cakes and excellent coffee could make it still worth a visit, if you’re in Brockley and that’s what you want.