La Liaison, South Kensington
Gloucester Road Underground Station
020 7370 3189
by Bob El Ensquique
Me and the day got off on the wrong foot. I woke up late, had nothing clean to wear, and mice had burrowed into my last few slices of Hovis. To top it off, I missed my stop on the underground. It was as I reluctantly arrived at Gloucester Road that I noticed the cafe embedded into the side of the station. I had nothing to lose. After having my face nestled in a stranger's armpit, it seemed the perfect place for a pit stop from the rat race.
As I waited at the counter, I found myself being awkwardly drawn in to a conversation between the proprietor and a regular about Morrocans and Peruvians. They kept catching my eye as they spoke, as if expecting me to contribute. So I piped up: "Tangiers is somewhere I'm quite keen to visit". The pair rolled their eyes. Whoops.
Having ruined their chat, I decided to get on with ordering. With no veggie option chalked on the menu board, I asked whether I could have a Full English sans-meat. "Certainly, sir!" chirped the elderly boss, having obviously forgiven me. "I can do you two scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast. Would you like white or brown? And a drink?" What a lovely man, I thought.
I perched on a stool and took in the scene. It became apparent that La Liaison serves as a pitstop for London cabbies. "Have you heard about the new American national anthem?" "Zippity Doo Da! Haha!" What followed was a great deal of discussion about Fulham goalkeepers and the long ball technique.
Then my breakfast arrived. Served on what appeared to be antique china, the meal was perfectly presented. It also passed the taste test, fluffy scrambled eggs complimented by steaming baked beans. The piping hot half-tomatoes and buttered mushrooms sat well on the warm toast. Outside, Ken Livingstone scuttled by in an oversized scarf, and the cabbies became highly animated.
Going up to pay, I felt considerably better than I had earlier. La Liaison didn't fix my dirty shirt, but for £4.95 it eased my hunger, and made me consider changing where I get off the tube.