The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dino’s Grill & Restaurant, Spitalfields

Dino’s Grill & Restaurant
76 Commercial Street
E1 6LY
020 7247 6097

by Megan Bacon

Oh, the joys of sacking off a morning’s work and having breakfast with someone you haven’t seen in ages. Don’t tell anyone, but that’s exactly what I’m up to, as I pick my way past the early-morning traffic and construction work that dominates the Aldgate scenery. In recent years, Commercial Street has been given a face lift by its ever-growing colony of ciabatta eaters and Belgian beer enthusiasts, and I must confess – I am both a ciabatta eater and a Belgian beer enthusiast. But I’m also a sucker for museums, and that is exactly what Dino’s is.

The restaurant hasn’t had a face lift. Nay, while its 1970s shades of olive, brown and yellow are pleasing to the eye, it’s evident that Dino’s hasn’t even subjected to a little bit of Botox. While waiting for my companion to arrive, I’m pretty much the only person there on a Wednesday morning, apart from the man behind the counter (Dino himself?) and a few passing labourers who check in for takeaway bacon butties. The walls are bedecked with posters of long-gone exhibitions and plays, many of which I’d been to. The place is a study in nostalgia. Luckily, I’m the nostalgic sort.

We choose a booth in the corner, and peruse the menu – a no-nonsense list that pairs all your usual breakfast foods in divergent orgies of deliciousness. According to internet lore, the chips are pretty special, but I’m against chip-eating before midday. Being adventurous sorts, we order off-menu: bacon and eggs with toast and tea. We aren’t entirely sure that “Dino” has got our order right, because he doesn’t seem to understand what we were saying, but when the meal is delivered within minutes, it’s all there. A common complaint of London eateries – particularly of the fancier type – is that their food looks fabulous, but lacks bite. Dino’s is the polar opposite – the food looks grim, but tastes good. The bacon has none of the nearly-burnt crispiness of a perfect rasher, but it is surprisingly tasty, particularly when paired with the eggs, which are coloured to perfection in dreamy hues of white and yellow. The toast, too, is a revelation: white, thickly sliced and smothered with full-fat, salted butter. Just like toast used to be. A better start to the day, I can’t possibly imagine. I’ll be back to try the chips.


Blogger Hypatia said...

I went to see a play performed inside Dino's cafe! It was Mem Morrison's play which I think this site has mentioned before... it was fabulous, very special and indeed, the breakfast was brilliant. The toast is very good!

10:26 AM, July 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see Gilbert & George there? They break their fast there every day without fail. Or so I hear.

1:58 PM, July 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Rossi Restaurant, round the corner on Hanbury Street, is Gilbert & George's spoon of choice. Unless they've changed it recently...

But then, I did hear rumours that they actually bought Rossi outright, simply to keep it as it is following the closure of their previous favourite The Market Cafe. Does anyone know if this is true? Or is it just tittle tattle...

2:09 PM, July 17, 2008  

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