The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Dervish, Stoke Newington

The Dervish
15 Stoke Newington Church Street
Stoke Newington
020 7923 9999

by H.P. Seuss

It is often remarked that beans are to the cooked breakfast as the Dutch Mercenary Forces were to the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. Keep them in check and they will perform unglamorous but vital tasks about the empire of the fry-up; sweetening sausage, lubricating toast, communing with chips, &c. Exert insufficient discipline upon them, however, and they will soon exhibit their mania for chaos. They teem. They flood. They carouse like drunken navvies.

And once on the ascendancy, they indulge in all kinds of trickery. They engulf an egg with the multitudinal terror of Balinese ants smothering a sleeping deer. They drown bacon with the mercilessness of a South Sea squall swallowing a Sumatran fisherman. Your breakfast paradise becomes a gooey mess.

At the Dervish on Saturday, my plate arrived in chaos. Beans everywhere. Not very nice beans, either. Give 'em a good stew and beans become fluffy and tameable; these were tepid and watery. They seemed to be multiplying, too. I'm sure I saw one of them elongate, narrow around the midriff and blink itself in two. I built a dam with my sausage to protect my egg from the riotous mob - but the damage was already done. I rescued what I could before leaving the plate to the orange terror, mushrooms and tomatoes floundering in the mire.

Why had I not heeded the lesson from The Blue Legume up the road? There too, the proportions were all out, the bacon and eggs practically an after-thought, upstaged by veg. Call it the N16 ratio. I eyed Molly Coddle-Degg's bespoke order of eggs, bacon and sausage enviously. Sensible Molly. The jewels of her breakfast crown had pride of place, untouched and untainted by renegade elements. When in exotic climes, in breakfasting, as in empire-building, divide and rule is the thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:00 PM, October 03, 2006  
Blogger Journo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:21 PM, September 20, 2007  
Blogger Journo said...

And by the way can we please get the cardinal rules of breakfast composition correct here.
Beans and egg go together well.
It is the water from tinned OR fresh tomato which should never be allowed to sully our cytoplasm.

2:26 PM, September 20, 2007  
Blogger Journo said...

I must whirl in and defend The Dervish: the best breakfast available anywhere near the High Street/Church Street corner of Stoke Newington. The Dervish's standard English Breakfast comprises two egg, two bacon, sausage, mushroom, beans, half a grilled tom, two toast and tea/coffee. To my mind a good combination yielding a steady meat/moisture balance. All items are of reasonable quality though the bacon is a little salty. The sausage is of the longer-length soft pink with brown skin variety. This plate sits squarely in the middle ground to the left of the overly-fussy gourmet brekkie and right of the greasy spoon fat-fest. Good coffee. Good service. The only downside is the screaming babies who are encouraged to let it all out primal-scream style by the sandal-wearing N16 dads. A hideous noise with hangover.

5:29 PM, September 20, 2007  
Anonymous Al said...

Great write up. But I've had generally good experiences at the dervish in line with Sean above.

10:16 AM, June 05, 2009  
Anonymous Will said...

love the Netherlands army simile!
Sublimely ridiculous

9:50 PM, September 10, 2009  

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