Andrews Café, Clerkenwell
160 Gray's Inn Road
020 7837 1630
by Gregg. E. Bread
As a lad I didn’t blink at the thought of a bowl of frosted shreddies or some such with hot milk for lunch. ‘Yes please Mother, that would be splendid, I love you’. Nor did I talk like that, but the truth of a half-hearted ungrateful shrug of ‘okay whatever mum I’m busy with all these micro machines yeah’ is so much tougher on my bubble-wrap memory of good-son utopia.
As a man such casual freedom has tensed into restraint; breakfast like a personal Von Trier ego trip.
Thou shalt not have the choice of both baked beans and tomatoes.
Thou shalt segregate baked beans from all egg on pain of making a face.
Thou shalt not eat chips with breakfast.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's egg (out loud).
Above all, breakfast can extend into lunch only when breakfast has not first been consumed or: you can’t eat breakfast twice.
Okay so there is brunch. I know. Brunch is like getting the glad eye from a cutie; a shared suggestive toying with what COULD BE. But what could (but may never) be is a weekend pursuit. I’m talking about weekdays and WHAT IS. You know, the stuff Mummy dearest wants to hear about when she phones.
Well, I recently got a new mum-pleasing career. My head finally removed from the warm belly of part-time study to the rigid posture of the second career that I thought I wanted. Thankfully colleague acceptance came early in the form of initiation rite; an invitation to eat Set Menu No.3 at the local brekkie merchants on Friday lunchtime. Grease is the new booze.
And so I took my seat amongst the off-colour Seurat décor and had little to do but wait, my choice made for me in the grand tradition of tradition. So came Set 3 - Fried Egg, Bacon, Sausage, Beans, Chips, Toast and Tea.
Frankly, the chips got my ticker edgy from the get go. Surely they only gain entry to festival of fry-up via the ‘belly-buster’ back door? A calming wave broke as these chips turned out to be more frites than doorstop. A classic cup of builders, thin and crisp bacon and the complete fried egg – aka ‘The Inbetweener’ (a yolk of runny yet sticky gloop) – suggested a happy welcome.
Then the smiles abated – time for the paddled ass of the rite of passage – as I took a keenly chomped mouthful of sausage and beans. Oh but how low these good friends had fallen. The sausage - internally caked in a faux-pink rouge – was sickeningly scented with knock-off pork musk. The beans appeared hot with their jackets on but once stripped they lay lifeless between my teeth - old, bitter haricots. I sought salvation in trusty toast. But what was this? Like some Englishman lain asleep in the midday sun, I marvelled at a crisp back and a white squidgy top. Praise be then for brown sauce – making iffy breakfast palatable since my Mother started cooking.
So there, I made it Mum, I can afford to spend £5.30 on lunch again. I’d still take the micro machines and shreddies over this any day.