The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Friday, September 05, 2008

S & M Cafe, Spitalfields

S & M Cafe
48 Brushfield St
E1 6AG
020 7247 2552

by Malcolm Eggs

Friday morning in Spitalfields, East London. It’s 9am to be precise.

The very last delivery truck is leaving, and as far as my eye can see are hoards of fruit and vegetables, piled high into flamboyant pyramid-shaped displays. A flat-capped trader struts across the road, booting a grubby, discarded old apple as he goes and... Oh! Sorry, my mistake. Look how low his trousers are: he’s a local hipster. And in fact, on closer inspection, the truck is from an artisan bakery. They’ve just dropped off a few designer tarts at Patisserie Valerie. But of course – it’s 2008, not 1958, and actually nothing I can see even remotely resembles a pyramid of fruit. No excuse for that one.

S & M Cafe must be acting like a pair of 50s-tinted spectacles, all those mock-gingham plastic tablecloths and framed adverts for Bird’s Custard. A Winston Churchill plate on the wall, ducks-in-flight plates too. They really have pulled out all the stops to synthesise a bygone version of England, one that is now of course completely extinct, unless you go to Rossi round the corner.

The pastiche even sort of extends to the food, which hits the exact average of every full English ever served by any caff anywhere. The fried egg is a pin-up model (and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t know it) and her boyfriend the sausage is as handsome as you’d expect from a popular sausage outlet. Sadly they are let down by the company they keep: the beans being tepid, the bacon being that strange purple-ish bacon you get sometimes, the bubble and squeak being just a bit too true to the 1950s.

The radio is playing Oasis and outside a blues band sets up their kit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "the bubble and squeak being just a bit too true to the 1950s"? I am a connoisseur of 'bubble' and if you mean that it was somehow frugal and only contained potatoes and cabbage then hallelujah!!

12:31 PM, September 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never mind the bubble, it's the thought of purple bacon and tepid beans that makes me want to run for my life. Purple bacon? When?? How?? Why??

10:55 AM, September 08, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubbleboy - I mean it was sort of lumpen, austere and tasteless.

Crispy bits - it really was purple. To be fair that wasn't as bad as that sounds, but it wasn't very good either. The whole breakfast was Extra Medium.

2:56 PM, September 29, 2008  
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9:56 AM, October 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I should get some linen goods. . .

1:22 PM, October 16, 2008  
Anonymous wedding chair covers said...

I am not at all sure about purple bacon or beans at breafast.

7:26 AM, August 30, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An excellent breakfast at a reasonable price. An ideal place to start a lazy day in Shoreditch. There seems to be some debate over the bubble. Rest assured, it's lovely.

8:01 PM, February 13, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called "S&M". That stands for "Sausage and Mash". Don't order bubble and squeek. Don't order bacon. Don't order a felt hat with feather trim. Order bloody Sausage And Mash. It's brilliant.

12:15 PM, March 09, 2011  
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6:28 PM, October 09, 2012  

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