The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Friday, January 06, 2006

Banners, Crouch End

21 Park Road
Crouch End
N8 8TE
020 8348 2930

by Herby Banger

It’s uncommon these days that I have the opportunity to breakfast with my old chum Malcolm Eggs, so on this rare outing we decided to travel to the renowned Banners in Crouch End.

The tone is set by the décor; rock n roll posters adorn the walls while there is an unmistakable South American/Caribbean accent in the music and furnishings. The large and varied menu reflects this; Creole twist here, Mexican angle there. We sat on a raised platform, between us a table and to our left, below the shelf bustling with condiments, a plaque decreeing that Bob Dylan had eaten his breakfast at this very seat back in 1993. Impressive.

Malcolm opted for the 'Meat Fry Up', their version of the Full English… sausages, bacon, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and eggs interestingly all served on top of crusty bread. The idea I’m told is that by the time you get to the end, all the juice has seeped into the slices leaving you uniquely decadent soggy bread. I went for the 'Banners Potatoes' – fried potatoes mixed with onion and meaty bits of bacon, with two nicely fried eggs placed on top.

Both reasonably priced dishes were enjoyed immensely.

Now Banners is obviously an institution round these parts. You can tell by the adverts for local businesses in the menu, and the fact that they charge you for tap water and donate the money to charity. You have no choice. The other giveaway is the service. Was it relaxed and comforting like a friend who stops by occasionally for a chat and a cuppa, or was it overconfident and aloof? I couldn’t tell… maybe I should chill out and be a bit more like Bob who, according to the article on the wall, also wasn’t particularly enamoured with the service.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bob's comments needed the weight of 'The Herb' behind them before the service was given a kick up the behind. Having eaten at Banners a couple of weekends ago I can safely say a kick it has received. I was stunned at both the quality (and quantity) of my breakfast and the incredibly attentive service we received. Every table was in full swing and yet my dropped fork was replaced immediately and a mildly leaky milk jug was attended to without so much as a word from myself or my companions. We were of course not capable of a word, given the huge quantities we had consumed, but the thought (and the thought behind the water charge) was much appreciated. I only had two questions at the end of our meal, why did my water taste so good and when can we come back?

2:13 PM, July 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Banners has really average food and really high prices, you can get the same Jerk Chicken but far better down at the Soul Kitchen in Hornsey, Pad Thai and £13? come on? they are trying to be American but I grew up in America and the main difference is that is about a 1/4 of the price as this average food and the service is so slllloowww. dont waste your money. the most overpriced, loud and slow place in Crouch End. If you like this place you have no taste. the only thing ok is the drinks...btw, charging for tap water is illegal! I would really doubt that money makes it into anyone's hands outside of Banners

2:19 PM, April 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow cant believe the remark above. Extremely ignorant...Banners most certainly does donate the 15p is SUGGESTS you donate to Water Aid and they also display how much money they ultimately donate. In the menu there is a full page explanation of their decision to this so the whole thing is completely transparent!

Agreed Banners is a tad on the expensive side in comparison to Thaitanic or Soul Kitchen...but compare it to ANY gastro pub or restaurant of average quality and Banners prices are competitive.

I eat in Banners about twice a week, i love the vibe in their and being a mum they are extremely child friendly...they provide toys for you kids, crayons etc, bibs, special meals and plastic tablewear!

Sometimes the service is below par but that would be the exception rather than the norm and usually such incidence are when they are short staff and busy (just like anywhere else). Usually i am greeted with a warm welcome, honest recommendations and all my needs met promptly. The music is always great, the drinks menu is extremely diverse and there is always a tempting list of specials to choose from. I've lived in Crouch 2 years and Banners has become an institution to me as it has for so many. A great relaxed place to eat good food, i highly recommend it!!

12:03 PM, October 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ate twice in Banners back in October - one supper - one breakfast. Enjoyed both and the service was fine. The decor was a lot of fun and Carl Foggarty's leathers were a nice touch.

1:35 PM, December 23, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For an excellent breakfast in Crouch End try the Crescent Cafe on Crouch Hill just past the school - excellent value for money - proper honest good food not this poncy nonsence that all the other eateries in Crouch End assume residents want to eat (and pay a premium for)

11:07 AM, October 13, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the Beakfast but they could not fry two egg with out burning them most annoying and not nice, and this was when it was very quiet and not busy, the prices are not cheap so now will try the Crescent cafe on Crouch hill just passed the school as other people have said thats better we will see ps: if you burn something cook it again your a Restaurant thats what your supposed do its not brain science, i work hard for my money-not impressed

7:51 PM, October 06, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The food is fine and not unreasonably priced. But I think I've just had the rudest service I've ever experienced in a restaurant in London here. Which is saying something.

3:50 PM, May 02, 2011  
Anonymous Musweller said...

Terrible rude service for me too... Avoid the pancakes, they're awful.

4:57 PM, October 08, 2011  

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