The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pullen's Dining Room, Herne Hill

Pullen's Dining Room
293 - 295 Railton Rd
Herne Hill
SE24 0LR
020 7274 9163

by Gracie Spoon

A mind teeming with hangover needs a dark, slow place to calm its nerves. And a body surprised by its own possibility for drunkeness needs a robust breakfast to reassure. Such was the appeal of Pullens, whose murky lighting and solid furniture provided a welcome sense of cosy permanence that is often lacking in more styled cafes.

From an appealing menu, Eggs Florentine (£6.95) and an All Day Breakfast (£6.50) were chosen… though conveying this to the people responsible for acting on our decisions took some time. Although this slow service fed into an all-round atmosphere of unhurried amiability, we more than once found ourselves shuffling in our seats and blinking endearingly at the staff for attention.

Once ordered, the food arrived at a normal pace. Surprise reigned though, as a sizzling bowl of hot cheese was put down and I tried to remember what I had chosen. The precise rules of Eggs Florentine are unclear to me, but I had believed they might include something about a muffin? Nonetheless, the power of suggestion on a frail mind is a powerful thing and in that moment, hot cheese soup was exactly where I was at. Eggs and spinach soon emerged from the soup, and while not as fresh, or as carby as I’d visualised, the grease and sizzle of the thing turned out to be a more than acceptable hangover cure. Meanwhile, I’m told the All Day Breakfast looked better than it tasted.

If the food was only okay, Pullens is still a reliable and kindly place to while away a breakfast and soothe a jittery head, though it's probably best to arm yourself with plenty of circuitous chat, as the whiling could go on for some time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the prescise rules of eggs florentine wasn't clear to you, surely it wouldn't have been too much trouble in your hungover state to ask what exactly it is? It's not eggs benedict, as i presume you may have confused this with.

7:54 PM, January 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be sure, the all day breakfast does not offer many surprises. But the fried potatoes are a welcome sight, too often omitted at lesser establishments; and the bacon, while at first sight unexceptional, is pleasantly smoked, slightly better than your average.

While the food is by no means superlative, the amiable atmosphere is to be recommended. And what with spring on its way, the tables out front, on the forecourt of Herne Hill station, are an excellent place for a leisurely Sunday brunch before retiring to nearby Brockwell park for a digestive stroll.

6:14 PM, March 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to this place the other day

It was a good breakfast

4:43 PM, August 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

twas a goodun

5:48 PM, September 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had breakfast here a couple of months ago and yep, it was slow. And overpriced. And I think we had to pay extra for bread, which made us all cross. Not nearly as nice - or as cheap - as Maclean's in nearby Honor Oak Park.

5:25 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger The Kitchen Trasher said...

This weekend the breakfast tasted better than it looked, but is now a whopping £7.95. Also they refused to replace beans with mushrooms (on the veggie breakfast, so they definitely had some) even when I offered to pay extra. Poor show. The one thing in its favour: very nice scrambled eggs. But really, something of a rip off for underdone fried potatoes, 2 tiny sausages, flabby bacon, the aforementioned eggs and 1 slice of toast (more would have set me back £1.50!). Plus the usual problem in modern restaurants: wooden floors, table + chairs, plus loud people = unable to hear yourself think. 6.5 out of 10.

11:42 AM, February 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really hoping Pullens was going to be a special place, but I've visited it once for breakfast and it was pretty average. The place looks like an old fashioned french railway cafe and I'm afraid that's just about the standard of overpriced food they manage to turn out. The service is slow and it's populated by very local people all of which don't actually make for a great experience. I live in Herne Hill, but this place is a little too cliquey. Give it a miss and head for brunch at the Prince regent - also overpriced, but a much better atmosphere.

3:00 PM, August 31, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Love Pullens, the staff are amazing so friendly and polite, the food is great if you have a good job and can afford it,if you cant its your lose don't moan about the price... its quality, clearly some people would like a cheap cafe if that's the case don't moan about Pullens go to Steve's... the two ladies that work Monday and Tuesday are clearly great at their job and deserve to be noticed.. 10/10

10:23 PM, January 30, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fine dinner, fine wine, even better people. Try the scallops or mussels as a starter and Alan's fish pie for a main you wont be disappointed I promise. Give credit when credit is due and Pullens has something so special you shouldn't miss out.

11:35 PM, January 30, 2012  

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