The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dalston Lane Cafe, Hackney


Dalston Lane Cafe
170c Dalston Lane
E8 1NG
020 7254 4704

by Gracie Spoon

If breakfast leaves the frying pan at 12.30pm and travels in a straight line for 8 minutes at the speed of very very hungry, what does x equal and why?

Some simple maths:

Chosen from a straightforward menu, 2 veggie breakfasts at £4.25. Speedy with hunger, it takes a relentless 8 minutes to dispose of them. 1 minute 30 seconds for the egg, lightly fried and still juicily ripe at its yolk. 45 seconds each for a couple of veggie sausages, swollen on tasty protein-texture. 30 seconds for a tomato the size of a fist. And for the mushrooms – not too much slip, not too much salt - a lingeringly loyal minute. 30 seconds spent pointing out a toast shortage; only a minute to create another drain on supply. A final 60 seconds is spent targeting a medium-sized reservoir of beans.

Light breezes over 12 café-ers murmuring at Sunday volume, behind them 3 silent staff wash up with Sisiphyan resolve. But here, an uncharitable question mark tightens around this otherwise satisfying breakfast… Those silent staff… what - really what - could they have been washing? Let me explain. Preceding those happy 8 minutes of fevered breakfast-eating, 40 minutes of not breakfast-eating had been brewing discontent. Forty minutes may not be unreasonable for many other pursuits, but for a simple breakfast from a capsule menu, 40 minutes is time gone elastic. This empty-bellied purgatory made us mean in spirit and in observation. Only 4 out of 12 people ate at one time – individuals would be served, would eat, would pay and would leave. And still not-breakfast-eating time would pass. It doesn’t compute. By my calculations, the mind-bending equation of

divided by staff
minus time spent washing up

can only work if

x = 4 plates in the entire café.


Blogger Leigh said...

just discovered this blog- loved it! keep up the good work, if one meal deserves critique and examination then its the mighty english breakfast!

9:25 AM, November 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Leigh - you're oeufully kind.

6:09 PM, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Alice Kelly said...

Dalston Lane Cafe is great, they've started doing Sunday roasts now, bring your own wine!

2:18 PM, February 03, 2008  
Anonymous Ell said...

Went there recently and it was great.good people having a bad day when you went?

1:22 PM, April 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visited the cafe this morning. Well worth the trek from Kingsland road. Delicious breakfast (particularly good sausage). NOTE: Reading any paper other than The Guardian may result in strange looks from fellow diners.

7:55 PM, February 13, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence said...

Your review is boring, poorly-lettered and completely misrepresents a local business that serves good food. I have never had a delay in my meal, it has always been delicious and reasonably priced. How dare you make it all about your little delay?

Take your subjective opinion, meditate on it and pause before you broadcast this kind drivel again. You're damaging a good local business for your own satisfaction.

This is worse than reading a cynical moron review a great piece of music.

5:01 PM, August 30, 2011  
Anonymous Malcolm Eggs said...

Lawrence - thanks for your comment. I don't agree with the way you've said it, but you're obviously quite angry with us, and I'm sorry about that.

However, it's my belief that (a) people understand the concept of a review on the LRB being a fair report of a given meal on a given day, (b) they also read subsequent contrary comments, which we welcome, to moderate what may have been an off-day and (c) they'll know that a lot can change in four years. I've now added a note to flag up the fact that ownership of the cafe has changed since this was written.

I hope you'll moderate your opinion of us as cynical morons.

8:07 PM, August 30, 2011  

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