J + A Cafe, Clerkenwell
4 Sutton Lane
by Moose Lee
Now, I know that some of the LRB massive would argue that a bacon and egg sandwich is not sufficient evidence upon which to judge an entire establishment but, I believe, within this salty microcosm are all the good and bad habits upon which everything else is based.
Questions to ask your Bacon and Egg sandwich:
1) When they slice the sandwich in half (as they surely must) have they cut through the middle of the egg yolk?
The answer should be yes. No-one wants to discover that one half of their sandwich is all work, no play. For me, the yolk had been halved perfectly. The yellow ran in a gooey sunset amid the dark, perfectly crunchy bacon. They’d even made sure the bacon fat was properly cooked.
2) Is the bread the colour and texture of a cloud?
The answer should be yes and, again, yes. I knew they were professionals because, as I took my first bite, the bread retained my finger prints. It turns out J and A bake their own bread, which explains the delicious crusts that I used for wiping up spills.
3) Has it been given the right condiments?
In a world where perfection exists – thanks to Heinz and Daddy – it’s always a risk to go off-piste, condiment-wise. Here they gave me fantastic Tiptree sauces, both red and brown, to use at my discretion. Let me tell you, I abused their good will.
4) Finally, predictably, how much does it cost?
In this case, just over a fiver with a good cup of tea. That stung a little, but not so much that I won’t be back.
Having just recently opened, the staff of J and A Café have the lovely, gushing, slightly embarrassing kindness of a start-up business. They welcomed me warmly, sat me down, took my order promptly and happily let me borrow a pen to write my review on one of their napkins.