The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Café Bon, West Hampstead

Café Bon
94 West End Lane
West Hampstead
020 7624 7548

by John le Café

West Hampstead is not blessed with a lot of good breakfast options. There is only one proper caff but it is sub-standard, and there are posh cafés, but on a Sunday, with a hangover, I didn’t want to spend £9 on something involving sourdough bread.

When I neared Café Bon I saw a sign outside which advertised it as a ‘Caffee’. Now, I have often considered the differences between a caff and a café but a ‘Caffee’ was a new one on me.

Inside I found out that it was a hybrid: part caff and part café. They had a full range of healthier sandwiches and salads but still offered a full English for £4.50. A few of the tables were busy with people talking or reading the newspapers. I was encouraged.

I ordered from the slightly surly owner and waited. I began to worry when my tea did not come. I waited and eventually it did arrive but not on its own. It came with the rest of the breakfast. Upon tasting it seemed that the tea bag had been left in the whole time the breakfast was cooking. It was thick, bitter and also too hot to enjoy with the food. Not a great start.

There were, however, some positives. The sausages were good – the expensive end of cheap caff sausages. Probably full of sawdust and cheap cuts but undoubtedly the best type of sausage for a Sunday morning. There was also enough toast. Four slices of wonderfully cheap, thick, white bread. And loads of beans.

That’s where the positives end. The toast, though plentiful was in the wrong place. It was all under the beans. This meant it was impossible to enjoy a piece of toast which wasn’t slathered in tomato sauce. Now I, like most people I presume, enjoy beans on toast but I also wanted other things with my toast.

The mushrooms were greasy and tasteless and I only had two sad-looking slivers of a grilled tomato. The fried egg was hard in the middle and there wasn’t any brown sauce. I may repeat that to emphasise the point. There was no brown sauce in the entire place.

Then we have to discuss the bacon. Surely, the most important element of the breakfast and one that if done well, could have lifted the rest of the disappointing meal. But this wasn’t real bacon. It was imitation bacon. It had no fat, no flavour and a strange, almost burgundy, colour. I feel calling it bacon is a grand exaggeration.

I waited for the owner to finish the loud argument he was having over the phone and paid. One to avoid. Next weekend I will begin my search again.


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