The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, January 29, 2007

Leo's Café and Restaurant, Dalston

Leo's Café and Restaurant
12 Stoke Newington Road
020 7254 5952

by Megan Bacon

There is no middle ground at Leo's. Everyone is either happy or sad, insane or fashionable, young or old. We choose to feed our hangovers at this no-frills Dalston greasy spoon because it shares its name with Leo Johnson, one of our favourite characters in Twin Peaks. You know, the one who beat his waitress wife with a soap-in-a-sock. (Hopefully no such thing occurs in the backrooms of Leo's: the staff are so lovely that it must mask some inner darkness.)

We sit ourselves at a table by the window, in a prime location to be tutted over by Leo's very own Statler and Waldorf (from ‘The Muppets’), two old grumpy hecklers who point and bitch in the direction of anyone who walks through the door. In one corner, a lone man cackles over his mad breakfast of plain toast and Coke. A group of suited young men eat chicken and rice, whispering suspiciously to each other. Two semi-famous indie band members wolf down their food with some bird off the telly, who talks loudly about celebrities she has met.

By the time our food arrives, our heads are practically spinning. The coffee is more like a coffee-flavoured milkshake, three-quarters milk, the rest sugar. Delicious. The Set Meal 1 has everything. There’s a perfectly gloopy fried egg, basic beans, subtle tomatoes, a sausage that tastes a bit cheap, but in a good way - but the star is the bacon: tender but crispy and dreamily salty. Suddenly, the sun shines through the window, as bright and yellow as an egg yolk. The telly bird has left. Even Statler and Waldorf flash me a smile. Leo's breakfast won't win any prizes, but surely this is what happiness is all about.


Blogger Mick Wilson said...

Hey this is my local and yes it does as it says on the tin, no frills but you get a hell of a feast for basically under a fiver and they're a lovely bunch.. Now that cures a hangover anyday of the week!!!!!

8:58 AM, July 21, 2009  
Blogger pins said...

I came here once and ordered scrambled eggs on toast. The toast was barely toasted, and the eggs tasted like stale oil! It was the most disgusting breakfast I've ever tasted. If you want great scrambled eggs, I recommend the Z Bar down the road, opposite the Police Station.

10:19 AM, February 25, 2010  
Blogger Tangman said...

This was my local when i lived in LDN, left there in 2009.
Recently came back to LDN and visited Leo again. I always get the mixed grill. It was delicious as ever and the prices were still the same. Best Cafe ever

6:58 AM, July 31, 2013  
Blogger Dgaf said...

It's all shit now. 2017 paid nearly 10 for full english. It was crap and they were rude after messing up my order and ignoring me when I tried to fix it easily. Told me it was my fault

1:54 PM, September 30, 2017  

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