Cafe & Grill, Camden Town
19 Kentish Town Road
by Nelson Griddle
Quite what made me decide on a full English breakfast baguette, I’m not quite sure, but almost immediately I came to regret the decision.
The meal started well enough. Café & Grill, a little eaterie that has sprung up like a daffodil between the British Boot Company and the United Reformed Church on Kentish Town Road, was bright and clean and smart - well, for Camden, anyway.
Décor-wise, it sported a couple of those mystifying photographs of central London with absolutely no one around (At what time of the day or night, I wonder, is Piccadilly Circus completely deserted? How do they do it - photoshop?) The waitress was certainly very pretty even if her command of English didn’t extend to being able to explain the ingredients of the breakfast baguette.
Not that she was concealing any wonderful secrets. The baguette, it turned out, contained that breakfast Holy Trinity of bacon, egg and sausage. But the bacon was under-done, the egg rubbery, the sausage bland. Even the bread was under-par: like all English attempts at baguettes, it failed to attain the crisp, celestial lightness of true French bread.
But ultimately I cannot just blame poor ingredients or execution. At the best of times the breakfast sandwich is a dubious institution. There’s something about stuffing the manifold ingredients of an English breakfast (all of which should be savoured alone or in carefully considered conjunction) into a bready bun that’s unnatural, uncalled for; strange and depraved.
Yet no one had forced this upon me. It was a calamity I had brought upon myself. I had tempted the gods, and got my come-uppance: a breakfasting tragedy of Sophoclean proportions.