Prufrock Café, Clerkenwell
23-25 Leather Lane
207 242 0467
by Bee Loobury
This writing considers only a single aspect of this lovely café, which deserves far more comprehensive appraisal.
One day a week I rise relatively early and head to Clerkenwell. As I am not a morning person it’s pretty much all I can do to make it in to work on time. So it’s no surprise that I don’t usually have time for a breakfast outing. That said last Wednesday there was a confluence of perfectly timed tube, train, and bus routes that left me with an extra 20 minutes before work. This gift from the heavens (or TFL, take your pick) allowed me to do something I’d been dreaming of.
For the past few months I‘ve spent my workday lunches at Prufrock Café, and consistently my eyes have been drawn to one particular item on the menu board – cinnamon toast. Now before I continue and extoll the virtues of this delectable treat I am going to write something that some may consider sacrilegious, especially when writing about Prufrock: I don’t drink coffee.
I know, this place is a coffee mecca, coffee is their raison d’etre, they have a coffee training center fer chrissake. And I can appreciate the sensuous aroma, the art of the barista, the paraphernalia, the stunning milky decoration, even the political aspect of the bean; it’s just not my thing. So I won’t be writing about the coffee at this coffee house as I am obviously not qualified. I prefer tea.
And this is where I find myself with just enough time for tea and toast. And the ultimate tea and toast at that. This cinnamon toast is not just your everyday stick-some-bread-in-the-toaster, slather-on-some-butter-and-sprinkle-with-a-bit-of-sugar-and-cinnamon. Oh no, this is GRIDDLED CINNAMON TOAST. Hot and melting with dark spice and sweetness. This must have been what in earlier centuries people experienced when cinnamon first arrived to the West. Almost tart aromatic spice caramelized and generously lathered on a freshly sliced loaf exceeded my weeks of expectation. This was my reward for having eaten properly balanced meals all those lunchtimes. Not that I had suffered in any way!
Prufrock does some of the best soups and stews around and always has yummy cheese or avocado on toast, too. But, knowing I’d be returning to the second half of my workday, I felt obliged to be sensible; protein would be required to endure the remaining hours and not start to flag and fade away come 4 o’clock. So the decadent pleasure of their sideboard, groaning with cakes and pies, tarts and brownies, had to wait. I think this might have made the griddled cinnamon toast taste even better – if that’s even possible.