The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, September 18, 2006

Acoustic Cafe, Newington Green

Acoustic Cafe
Denver Road
Newington Green
N16 5JH

by H.P. Seuss

"Now, miliy moi", said Peshka, proferring two clenched fists, "which is it to be?"

The café was pale amber, with a Mediterranean air and a mercifully unfulfilled promise of live music. It reminded Peshka of Aleppo, site of his famous Philidor rebuttal in '56. He insisted that I wheel him outdoors to take the plein air, though there was not, in truth, a great deal of air to take on that bright white day.

I nodded at his right hand, which revealed an ivory pawn. "White you are", he said, his legs twitching under a tartan shroud.

A waitress hovered. Knight took coffee; king took tea ("black or white?" — indeed!). Both took Full English. Time took toll. We launched into a perfunctory 1) e4 e5, 2) Nf3 d6, 3) Bc4 Nf6? 4) Ng4!

The waitress shimmered back with our plates. The mushrooms were pawns, weak and many, nimble supporters of bishop bacon and knight banger. The bread was queen, precious and everywhere. The egg was a poached king, fresh and kindly. The beans, sequestered in a separate dish (have the chefs of N16 taken the hint?), were fragrant rooks, key endgame players. The tomato was a draughtsman, a boy in a game of men. The whole was quirky but satisfying.

Play continued: 4)... d5 (the tempo was mine) 5) exd5 Bc5 (prompting a Queen's side castle from me later) and 6) b3 (for the fianchetto). We exchanged queens. My bishop held his king in a mortal grip. I feared for faded Peshka, who sighed throughout, reminiscing about the Baden-Baden bienniale of '37, site of his infamous Gambian gambit.

But just as I was mopping up the endgame, Peshka sprung a trap so fiendishly intricate, so perfectly simple, I nearly choked on my knight. Bean took bacon, mushrooms were outflanked, my egg was swamped. "Checkmate", said Peshka.

I looked up — and he was gone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I much preferred it when you all reviewed breakfasts in your fabulously witty ways... not this self-indulgent literary nonsense.

12:40 PM, September 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't a clue if the food was any good or not.

7:54 AM, February 24, 2008  
Blogger Blackbird Experience said...

I'll third that, but for those of you who truly want to know if the food is better than this paltry "review", IT IS.
Monumentally so.

My review: Fresh, beautifully prepared and delicious food with friendly, attentive service.

I was bewildered to think of how such an unpretentious, pleasant cafe could inspire the pompousity of this review... but it's sadly not about the cafe at all.

12:33 PM, February 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen this cafe a million times on my bus journey home, and at last had the chance to experience it in the weekend.

It was a wonderful gastronomic sensation. I savoured the taste of the haloumi, pumpkin and pine nut salad, and my friends also delighted in their dishes.

The atmosphere was relaxed, the staff were attentive . . . I will definitely be back for more.

2:46 PM, September 01, 2008  

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