The Lead Station, Chorlton, Manchester
99 Beech Rd
0871 434 8872
by Grease Witherspoon
It is rare that I am thrown into a situation that I am not able to foresee to some degree. Obviously, it is impossible to predict the future, but I do a pretty good job based mostly on forward planning, generalisation and stereotyping. In fact, I’m fairly flawless. Provided, therefore, with the following components- a Mancunian suburb, an English ‘summer’ morning, a shabby pub and an irritable temperament (hunger), I made a quick assessment: this wasn’t going to be a breakfast to write home about.
We arrived at The Lead Station not so much out of choice, but out of necessity- it was the only place open that particular Sunday morning in Chorlton. We were lead through the main body of the empty pub towards the back to a bright sun-trapped garden, filled with families and gossiping friends, spread out supplements and all smiles. Tea and coffee flowed, provided by amiable staff fully prepared for free top-ups and who proved more attentive than one of those waitresses with the little aprons in Hollywood film diners. I had to do several comedy double takes. Wasn’t it meant to be grim up north?
When the breakfast arrived, it was so packed with ingredients it practically fell off the plate. The sausages provided a satisfyingly crisp crunch, oozing the right amount of grease. I was delighted to see the addition of a potato cake, that Lancashire speciality. The eggs were the only disappointment as they were just a tad too rubbery and overdone for my liking and the slightly limp tomatoes lacked the effort I would have liked to see. A miniscule pot of baked beans sat in a decorative attempt, which ultimately seemed a little unnecessary. But as I sat basking in the sun pretending I was on holiday, these things didn’t really bother me. Not when the black pudding was so rich and my breakfast companion let me polish off her vegetarian haggis, a well-seasoned mix of lentils and pearl barley.
Happily, there was an abundance of toast and as I sat watching my little foiled slab of butter melt in the sun I felt perfectly full and content. They let us sit there for another hour without so much as a hint of an evil glare, quite happy to pour more and more coffee. I decided I’d leave my crystal ball behind next time, as my lesson had been learned- all for £6.95.