Kako, Camden Town
7 Camden High St
020 7383 7707
by Nelson Griddle
London can be a bleak, unforgiving place. Especially at the onset of the worst financial crisis in living memory. And when the temperature’s below freezing. And when you haven’t had any breakfast yet.
It was under these testing conditions that I thought I’d give Kako a whirl. I was ushered in by a very charming waitress. There was no hint of the awfulness to come as I ordered eggs, bacon, tomatoes, sausage, toast and coffee.
Yet disaster whispers its imminent arrival in the little things, such Kako’s rack of out-of-date papers. Who wants to read a four-day-old copy of the Star, after all? But then again, who wants to sit and wait 25 minutes for their breakfast?
Not that I knew it would be 25 minutes. You know how it is in this situation. You wait patiently. You wait a bit more. After ten minutes or so, you think “Well, they’re a bit busy. Let’s give them another five minutes. Then, being British, you give them another five minutes, because the waitress was very sweet, after all.
Yet finally I went to complain. What was going on? I asked the charming waitress. How long was this going to take? Where, after twenty-odd minutes, was my breakfast? Another five minutes, said the waitress, a little less charmingly, after a discussion in the kitchen.
Well, five minutes sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? But how long does it take to cook breakfast in the first place? Frying an egg, grilling bacon and making toast is accomplished in my kitchen in three minutes flat. So although I’d been sitting there for the best part of half an hour, they hadn’t even started on my order yet.
Enough! I walked out, unbreakfasted, to find sustenance in another café over the road.
One final puzzle: Where does Kako get its name? It’s opposite Koko, but is Koko really such a brilliant name that it deserves this homage? Possibly they’re inspired by the service at Koko: the last time I went there I had to queue up for 15 minutes to buy a bottle of St Miguel.
Never mind. If the “o” falls off, the name will fit perfectly.