The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bar Solo, Camden

Bar Solo
20 Inverness Street
Camden Town
020 7482 4611

by Corin Flakes

Off the shuddering thoroughfare of Camden High Street, peacefully withdrawn from its sardined caste of anaemic teen and mumbling nomad, sits Bar Solo – apparently voted by Time Out readers as the best destination for breakfast in London. Naturally, such a populist triumph demands the objective rigor of the LRB.

Seated by beaming staff (who, you are made to feel, understand the laconic entrapments of a grave hangover) Ed Benedict and I submerged ourselves in a confident menu – simple, but with progressive twists on accepted convention. Service was buoyant, swift, assured; mushrooms were cheerily debated, and egg requests accommodated with the nodding elasticity of the expert. Benedict favoured the Veggie, I the eponymous Solo.

The Veggie drew unmitigated shock. The puritanical elements were adeptly accounted for (vegetarian sausage, quality beans, crisp toast) but the plate was dominated by an experimental plume of creamed spinach. Lacking genealogical connection to the fry-up family, spinach can’t be ignored - it ruptures the entire ecology of the dish with the steaming mania of an ungovernable step-child. Though the poached eggs were perfectly robust, contamination was irreversible: the breakfast a lumpish reservoir of lurid green.

Safe from reckless pioneering, the Solo was near flawless for an economical £4.95. The bacon was muscular, the sausages possessed the right extraction of herb and flesh, and a saporific tomato had been assiduously grilled. My single dissatisfaction was that the mushrooms, although cooked with evident love, were depressingly sparse: a meek triumvirate of lonesome fungi.

I’d timidly agree with the Time Out Readership, but with a strict amendment – the best breakfast in London (for the price, if you avoid the greenery, if you are on Inverness St).


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