The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, September 11, 2006

Starvin' Marvin's, Greenford

Starvin’ Marvin’s
BP Service Station
Central Parade
Western Ave
020 8998 5132

by Poppy Tartt

According to legend, a tornado swept across Kentucky fifty years ago, carrying off the state’s homesteads and restaurants. Luckily for the residents of Greenford, Ealing, a freakish gust carried one shiny aluminium train carriage of a diner clear across the Atlantic and dropped it, intact, just at the edge of the B452. Unfortunately the staff fell out somewhere over Ireland, but the owners managed to hire a few local girls, dressing them in impolitely tight black trousers and advising them to consider each order as carefully as if it was a GCSE exam question.

Authentic American diner Starvin’ Marvin’s is, according to their motto, ‘not just a diner, but a way of life’. The first booth we were shown to had one seat so squishy it might actually have been padded with American pancakes. This is going too far, I thought.

As you might expect, we ate the American breakfast: two eggs, two pancakes, bacon and maple syrup. The portions were small enough to justify their confiscation under the un-American Patriot Act, but we later came to believe that excess is the mother of regret. The bacon was the grey, overly curly kind that looks as if it has been grated from the pig with a giant pencil sharpener and picked up off the sty floor some time later. Still, it all tasted all right – even if the cook had translated ‘over-easy’ as ‘over-pretty-tricky-actually’, as in, turn the eggs over, do some tough algebraic equations on a chalkboard provided for the purpose, then take them out. And it’s my belief that the cook was not a mathematician.

Kentucky is a long way from Greenford, Ealing, but then so is Hackney. Long journeys can diminish destinations unfairly. By the way, the bit about the tornado was a lie.


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