The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Priory, Roehampton

The Priory
Priory Lane
SW15 5JJ
020 8876 8261

by Bloody Mary

So obviously mental hospitals aren’t famed for their food, but this one costs a small fortune, so it should be. The anorexics are fed elsewhere – well, unless only part of your problem is anorexia, in which case you have to cope with the other crazies looking at you as you sniff your apple. Any other food issues and you’re in with the rest of us, the mildly insane. Fortunately, the secure unit also are fed separately, behind the high wall around Scary Compound where they are locked away – so I cant vouch for their eating conditions – but lets hope, if they are to have any chance at all, that their food was better.

Loony bin cooks don’t want to upset the patients, but they don’t really want to waste anything on people who believe all glasses to be half-empty at the best of times. The Priory have clearly decided that a way to make the inmates happy and the restaurant staff happy is to give the former a rough facsimile of what they want to eat, but made so horrible they don’t hang about and annoy the latter.

Mornings aren’t good times for loons, in general, so it’s not the happiest breakfast you’ve ever seen. Sad faces slouch in, stare at the eggs, find the last cling-filmed muesli and a pear and slouch out again. But the manics make up for the silence with their nice loud laughing, the drunkies & junkies are relatively perky in the morning, and the lady who liked to play with food with her toes adds “colour”. Some kind nurse might have brought in the Metro, so you could read about crucial hairstyle changes for Peaches Geldof.

Fried food in vast oily vats are slapped down at 7 and left to harden until 10am. Congealed egg and chipolatas, fried potatoes the consistency of shoes and gritty little nipples of mushroom lie miserably next to each other like failed suicide attempts. The Priory fryery was so bad that I couldn’t indulge my schooldays fetish for crap fryups. I would press a crunchy sliver of streaky bacon, if it had not disintegrated, between two slices of brown bread and drown it in a bloodbath of ketchup. Then I too, would nick a pear and slouch out. The healthy table all looked so dry.

Drink? Well, the coffee at the Priory has no caffeine in it. Crazies aren’t allowed caffeine – so coffee becomes useless, sour fluid that burns your mouth. Milk is in little UHT cartons that cause spectacular ejaculations over depressives sticking thumbs in them. On the plus side, there’s a LOT of fresh juice and pre-made hot chocolate, and these are very good.

A more radiant, sparkly breakfast - blueberries and strawberries in the muesli, french toast cut into sunbeams, pastries with jam and honey and cream, fresh roasted coffee, shimmering poached eggs - might have helped us bust through the day, boosting our fragile immune systems and bringing joviality to the depressed. But admittedly there, the biggest improvement would have been caffeine.


Anonymous Blake Pudding said...

Ah! just like school. Thank you for the trip down memory lane. Now how did that school song go? "pom pom dum de da something something dum de dee. . ."

3:16 PM, April 02, 2010  
Anonymous DannyBlahBlah said...

I used to live around the corner from there, but never considered popping in to eat! I used to hear the patients screaming when I jogged in the evening!!

10:38 AM, April 08, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this article very disturbing and offensive. My mother is at the Priory at the moment.........please have a heart for those of us who have a loved one going through such difficult times! The meals are actually very good and any omments that the patients scream is absolute rubbish.

8:11 AM, August 12, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in a different Priory and it saved my life. I couldn't fault the food. We were so well looked after. Some of my closest friends are from the Priory - we are not loons. We are just brave people for seeking the help we so desperately need. None of us chose to become like that. A patient never screamed.

11:30 PM, February 10, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the writer is saying patients are loons, they sound like they were there as a patient themselves? the point seems to be that for somewhere so expensive, the food should be uplifting and reflect the treatment? I personally am a believer that health is improved with food and atmosphere as much as medication. It does seem strange that a place to make you healthy serves fried food

1:25 AM, March 01, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This review is both insulting, misleading and somewhat inaccurate. I find it terrible that the reviewer has used words like "blood bath" and "suicide attempt" especially considering they may have been a former patient and should know better. The "fried food" was the English Breakfast part of the breakfast offer and this review fails to mention things like the cereals, dried fruits, fresh fruits such as various melons, grapefruit, pineapple etc. Poached eggs were available to order from the very helpful and understanding staff!

10:31 AM, August 08, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also find this to be an ignorant and offensive piece of writing. Again, the priory also saved my life. It is called the priory hospital for a reason, the patients...not loons, crazies or even inmates (it is not a lockdown facility people choose to be there) but human beings trying to get well. I suggest you stick to reviewing real restaurants and check your insensitivity at the door.

10:17 AM, February 21, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a former Priory patient and this is NOT ignorant. the writer was clearly a patient -patients in the priory call themselves loons all the time. its an injoke thing, and it helps us feel better. I was there recently and I have food problems but wasnt in for anorexia and they just left me there and yes some patients are scary thats how it is. My mum paid 20,000 for me to stay and i wanted more than limp salad and fried food. The Priory has seen better days and their food policy is not consistent with their healing process. Inmates have just as much right to write THE TRUTH as you have to romanticise it. Its not this writers fault that its distressing there and the food should be better. I think they dont care about the food because the mentally ill dont complain. this person did. well done for your honesty and humour when you must have been sad to be there. PS anyone who says patients never cry/scream is lying.

5:20 PM, April 05, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry this has really annoyed me - the priory is not the NHS and its not like anyone will read a breakfast review to make their decision to get treatment! but why shouldnt the priory be criticised? they charge thousands a week for their services! why shouldnt the food be good! mental patients DESERVE good food when there is a link to happiness sorry thanks

5:23 PM, April 05, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG I am about to check myself in.. I hadn't bargained for screaming....crying yes....As one of my addictions is food I guess the quality should help me to cut my rations as I dont eat crap but I kind of wish I hadn'tread this.especially as this particular branch of the Priory was especially recommended as a centre of excellence...Google The Priory Roehampton and this pops up..maybe someone in the know will improve things if they see this..I'll mention it if I see anyone..:-)

2:41 PM, April 18, 2012  
Blogger jabsco99 said...

as someone who's been there, i can tell you that the food is terrible. also the whole AA thing is rammed down you, not good.

10:54 AM, December 17, 2013  

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