Diana's Diner, Covent Garden
39 Endell Street
020 7240 0242
by Cher E Jamm
Every now and then, there comes a caff that is so perfect, so dishevelled in all the right places, so masterful in the art of making breakfast, that it makes me just want to fall to my knees and weep hot tears of joy. Diana's Diner is such a place.
It's been sitting pretty on Endell Street, Covent Garden for eons. I, shamefully, had turned my nose up and walked past it for many a year. Today, with my companions - one of whom is eight months with child and craving bacon - I set foot through its fine doors and knew instantly that I had been a fool. Why had I never gone in? Because the bright lights of Covent Garden, with its macchiatos here and its croissants there had lured me away, chewed me up and spat me out onto the pavement - that’s why.
Diana's Diner is not fancy. It doesn't do organic anything. It doesn't serve soya milk, and I suspect that if you were to ask for brown or granary toast, you would be laughed at. It’s full of labourers, clubbers on their way home, white collars on their way in to work and has-been rockstars on their way to nowhere in particular. In the latter category were Danny Goffey and the other guy from Supergrass, sat in matching red Ray-bans, furiously shovelling bacon and egg butties into their increasingly jowly gobs.
To the food. A Full English came with perfect mushrooms with not a bit of slime, two halves of grilled tomato properly cooked with their blackened faces staring proudly from the plate, a sausage that was nice to look at but as with so many sausages these days, tasted of nothing. The bacon – oh, the bacon – was crisp, plentiful, delicious. Beans were hot and the scrambled eggs were fluffy, light and cooked with a panache that is rare in these weary times. Salsa Sally was feeling regal and opted for the Breakfast Royale, more scrambled eggs and a generous portion of smoked salmon on toast. Her only negative observation was that she would have preferred the toast on the side so as to prevent it from becoming soggy. Both meals came with a cup of tea and were modestly priced at £4.50.
The decor was simple: wooden tables and ramshackle chairs, walls filled with framed, signed photos of 1980s stage actors I’ve never heard of. The service was polite and swift. The owner, a cheery Portuguese man kept calling us 'bella', insisting our pregnant friend eat for free. "You are eating for two,” he said. “It is an honour to have you in here”.
Actually, the honour was all ours.