Burger King, Waterloo
020 7261 9492
By Hashley Brown
I think a Spanish man just used his bad English as an excuse to chat me up on the train. Get over yourself, Hashley, I can hear you think, but hell it's been a long morning. So it starts like this: not enough sleep, wake up at 5 to get on a bus to get to Waterloo to go to a wedding. Bus breaks down, twice. Get a taxi. Plus, it's really cold. And all this time the little spark of hope, of longing even, is for the reward, the carrot to the early morning's stick, of a warm satisfying breakfast somewhere en route.
What delusions I harboured. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but somehow I imagined there being a little caff tucked away in Waterloo station, a vendor selling freshly crisped bacon sandwiches and a sturdy cup of tea, in a mug. Phhhhrp. Idiot, Hashley. This is England, where all travel starts with culinary mediocrity. With the chain outlet, but one that's only ever found in train stations. Mmm, Whistlestop, Pumpkin, Delice de France, generic 'pub' that looks as if it hosts half of the BNP list and err, Burger King. Seriously people, this was not a choice I wanted to make. But I hate those little kiosks with their insipid baguettes more than life itself. The bastards bombard every regional rail passenger with dressed up cheese rolls of such horrifying dullness that they surely warp travellers expectations of 'continental' cuisine to the point that they join UKIP. No wonder we haven't really become part of Europe.
So there I was ordering a bacon and egg butty value meal in Burger King. The bacon was thick cut something but tasted only of artificial 'smoky' flavour, the scrambled egg disc had a texture like upholstery foam, and the butty was of that spineless corn-dusted sort whose extreme softness endears it only to the elderly and teething children. It did come with a portion of mini hash-browns which were greasily satisfying and the ketchup at least was Heinz, but it was a thoroughly underwhelming experience.
At least the tea, served bag in, was nice.