The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nice Croissant, Wanstead

Nice Croissant
119A High Street
Wanstead E11 2RL
020 8530 1129

by Egon Toast

The reveille is sounded for authentic British cuisine: that bespectacled chap Blumenthal is, as ever, at the forefront, his latest offering a meticulously researched trip across the UK’s historical palate. I can’t wait for the man to bring out a range of goodies aimed at the working man – ‘HB Sauce’, perhaps, a taste of the real, historic London, underscored with notes of tanners’ yards and stevedore sweat.

Out on the city’s periphery, blasted by economic imperatives, instances of venison scotch eggs or poached ling are thin on the ground – instead, the closest we get to heritage nosh is the dear old Full English, and the pie and mash shop. Wanstead High Street has one such example of the latter, an immaculate shrine to a food long past its sell-by date. But just down the road lies something even more delicious – a still-extant example of those first whispers of culinary exoticism from which we now flee.

‘Nice Croissant’ is big on wordplay, and le petit dej. Your favourite breakfast components – pork, cheese, egg – feature heavily, but instead of sitting on a pile of chips or a sea of beans, they’re shoved into a buttery crescent. They’ve picked up the boule and they’ve run with it.

So, I ordered a croque monsieur. Testing their range.

The bread was of the ilk that lives sweating in placcy bags on supermarket shelves, so had dessicated unpleasantly after its grilling. The bechamel carried few hints of excitement, but was sufficiently gooey, if unevenly spread. The ham: pellucid. Barely there. The cheese warmed proceedings up. It always does.

So – not a total dîner de chien, just slightly disappointing. But to improve matters, my latte arrived in one of those curvaceous mini-vases that seem to have fallen from favour, all moues and frothiness, giving the glad eye to my dining partner’s yeomanly mug of tea.

Beside us, some grandparents were treating the young ‘uns to a milkshake. Grandpère, middle finger eagerly following croissant detritus around his plate, listened patiently to tales from home and school. He looked askance at my latte, as every right-thinking elderly gentleman should: “Don’t take it too far, mate – this is Britain, not the bleedin' continent”.

Very on-trend.


Anonymous E.Toast said...

I'm glad no-one has picked me up on the inclusion of cheese in the list of favoured breakfast products. Or maybe LRB readers are greater fans of the continental breakfast than they’d care to admit.

11:43 PM, June 13, 2011  
Blogger Oxford said...

I have been reading your food blog and have really enjoyed it. As a fellow foodie, I have a blog about my quest for the ultimate hamburger, I wanted to share this link and project that I have been following as I think they have an very interesting idea for a short film that will appeal to foodies.

A team of documentary short film makers is making a film about the regional foods which are disappearing from our grocery store shelves. Once, the grocery store reflected the foods and culinary heritage of each region of our country. There was a time that Coors beer was not sold east of the Mississippi River, and Moon Pies only existed in the South. Small regional food companies are being bumped from the store shelves, and we are losing these food traditions.

These are those foods that maybe your grandparents had in their pantry and you refused to eat. Things (and these are real) like mudfish in a jar, sauerkraut juice, and canned snake. They are looking for input on regional foods in your area, like those strange food items on the top shelf that you have no idea how they are used or what to cook with them.

The film will include calling the makers of these unique foods and learning the history and reason behind why mudfish is available in a jar. Then they will have a big food tasting offering volunteers the chance to taste these items and give their feedback.
I hope you can suggest possible regional foods or ask your readers. You can learn more about the project on their website

4:22 AM, June 29, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cafe Brunch opposite Nice Croissant offers a traditional english breakfast with tea and toast for £3.95.

11:42 AM, September 02, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you were in search of British breakfast cuisine and rightly so, as you pointed out, cheese is not part of it.
However, the omelettes and scrambled eggs at Nice Croissant are worth the trip, with those typical ingredients so often seen in Brits Brekky. Freshly cooked and not a micro scram either.

One bad egg in the dozen does not mean the other 11 are rotten too.

A balanced review would have encompassed a variety of what was on offer.

6:27 PM, February 28, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a regular customer at this shop since 1995, and cannot find a major problem with the food or the atmosphere in which it is consumed.leame

10:44 AM, April 21, 2012  
Anonymous ROBIN said...

I have been a patron of these premises for almost 20 years, and can say quite honestly that there is no better place to eat in Wanstead. The selection of cakes, large and small are mouth watering, the bread, rolls, baguettes and croissants along with the cakes are made on the premises. The tea and coffee is perfectly satisfactory and the service is very good.

6:22 PM, July 26, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares