The Deptford Project, Deptford
121 - 123 Deptford High St
by Sultan Pepper
Deptford High Street has some great caffs – the tea is strong and milky, the breakfasts are gratifyingly greasy, and the prices are paltry. But, like everything else in this god-fearing district, they’re closed on Sundays. Adherents of the Church of Breakfast are the only congregation in Deptford without a place of worship.
Until The Deptford Project – a disused railway carriage reborn as a laid-back, mildly arty, lo-fi café – came to save our souls. The owner seemed to have underestimated the desperation of the area's surprisingly large population of middle-class white 20-something types for a Sabbath fry-up: the place was heaving when we dropped in (on one of their first Sundays, admittedly), the staff were flapping and complimentary coffees were being slung about in apology for the long wait for food.
But hallelujah, if it isn’t the breakfast that bourgeois Deptford’s been waiting for: velvety, flavoursome scrambled eggs; perfectly cooked bacon, cut almost thick enough to warrant the term ‘slab’. Tomatoes – a revelation: small, surprisingly sweet and juicy. Real Mushrooms! neither watery and pallid, nor fried to death – they steered a middle course between the two most common conditions of the inexpertly handled shroom. These were softly sautéed cuddly little buttons. I wanted to keep them as pets.
I mean it as a compliment when I say it was amateurish – not clinical, cynical, nor cheffy, and nor was it slapdash; it was achieved with the art that conceals art.
If, as its name suggests, The Deptford Project is some kind of experiment, perhaps designed to see whether the time is right to take Deptford’s café culture in a more flamboyant direction, then I don’t think it’s too early to pronounce the experiment a success. Praise the Lord.