The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Friday, October 26, 2007

Flâneur, Clerkenwell


41 Farringdon Road
020 7404 4422

by Phil English

Before I move on to describing a truly marvellous breakfast, I would like to address you on the unholy trinity of syphillis, buggery and condoms. As an amateur observer of socio-linguistic developments, as well as a professional breakfaster, I am interested in the way we attribute certain activities and objects to other nations. Thus, when they were engaged in squalidly trying to knock each other's heads off in the sixteenth century, the French took to referring to the pox as "Le mal italien" and the Italians said rightbackatcha, bringers of the "French disease". Similarly, the French accuse my countryfolk of "le vice anglais" and we counter that another postal strike would be welcome if you were expecting a letter from a Frenchman.

Which brings me to the subject of French toast. Presumably this is an Americanism. In England we call it eggy bread. Which is accurate and uninspired, but not offensive. Perhaps this xeno-specific appelation is a homage to pain-perdu, but I think that it's probably more along the lines of the dubious monikers above. As in, "Hey Hank, check out this toast; it's all eggy and shit. Those French dudes, man. They suck!" In these times of renaming the potato chip for reasons of geo-political outrage, I shall henceforth be terming the dish Freedom Toast. Vive La France.

I and my colleague Padraig Oates, who for the record did not order an Irish coffee, had an absolutely sumptuous breakfast at Flaneur. Oddly, though, for an overtly Gallic joint, they refer to the above dish by its American name. Still, it came rich and crispy with delicious smoked bacon and maple syrup. Mr Oates had neutral, United Nations, toast with bacon and scrambled eggs. Plus freshly squeezed orange juice, a nice pot of tea and a cup of good coffee, all for a very reasonable sum, which currently escapes me. But, where were you guys? There was no-one there. This place is serving breakfast and it's doing it now. Go.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can vouch for their muffins.
Or anyway, I could a couple of years ago.
Not that I'd advocate eating two-year old muffins.
I'm just saying that I was there two years ago, and had a muffin, and liked it.


8:49 AM, October 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but the name 'eggy bread' is offensive. The other things we normally refer to as eggy would not taste nice with golden syrup on.

4:58 PM, November 03, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

good brekky, but such an empty place! lonliest meal I've ever had...shame. Not me being lonely,- God knows that'sthe norm - the place being empty.

1:39 PM, January 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eggy bread is a horrible phrase that sounds thoroughly unappetising and ALSO has the inherent ability to make anyone who says it sound about seven. No reason for us to slavishly adopt all things american but let's not throw the french toast out with the bathwater.

2:45 PM, January 30, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

You should go to the postie cafe on rosebery avenue and have a full english there. so much more character, and the owners are italian. and they cook bacon on both sides. my dad, also scottish, goes there religiously and regularly gets breakfast, including cumberland sausage no less, with cups of strong tea for under a fiver.

i live in america now, and when i stayed with my dad whilst back in blighty, i had sausage, bacon, egg, cooked tomatoes, chips and toast every single day. YES! heart blocking greatness. and it most definitely did not SUCK.

btw, my grandma was also scottish and called french toast french toast. eggy bread? you're 'avin a larf. not my preferred naming, i can tell you.

7:41 PM, April 25, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flaneur - gone liquidated. DAMN.
May 2009.

8:21 PM, June 15, 2009  

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