The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cafe & Grill, Camden Town

Café & Grill
19 Kentish Town Road
Camden Town

by Nelson Griddle

Quite what made me decide on a full English breakfast baguette, I’m not quite sure, but almost immediately I came to regret the decision.

The meal started well enough. Café & Grill, a little eaterie that has sprung up like a daffodil between the British Boot Company and the United Reformed Church on Kentish Town Road, was bright and clean and smart - well, for Camden, anyway.

Décor-wise, it sported a couple of those mystifying photographs of central London with absolutely no one around (At what time of the day or night, I wonder, is Piccadilly Circus completely deserted? How do they do it - photoshop?) The waitress was certainly very pretty even if her command of English didn’t extend to being able to explain the ingredients of the breakfast baguette.

Not that she was concealing any wonderful secrets. The baguette, it turned out, contained that breakfast Holy Trinity of bacon, egg and sausage. But the bacon was under-done, the egg rubbery, the sausage bland. Even the bread was under-par: like all English attempts at baguettes, it failed to attain the crisp, celestial lightness of true French bread.

But ultimately I cannot just blame poor ingredients or execution. At the best of times the breakfast sandwich is a dubious institution. There’s something about stuffing the manifold ingredients of an English breakfast (all of which should be savoured alone or in carefully considered conjunction) into a bready bun that’s unnatural, uncalled for; strange and depraved.

Yet no one had forced this upon me. It was a calamity I had brought upon myself. I had tempted the gods, and got my come-uppance: a breakfasting tragedy of Sophoclean proportions.


Blogger A Lovely Life said...

Oh I agree. Too much bread and hard crust. The only exception is possibly a bacon sandwich made with bread if you're not quite hungry enough for a full english (which is rare).

9:12 AM, March 11, 2009  
Anonymous Unearthed said...

Enjoyed the review very much but I have to take exception to your sweeping dismissal of the breakfast baguette. I used to work in a stone quarry in Somerset and the greasy spoon (situated inside a large portacabin) there served a breakfast baguette that surpassed any fry-up I have had before or since. Despite the light covering of quarry dust some blending of flavours was produced that was greater than the sum of its parts. Its 'parts' including three types of sauce. I sometimes wish that I had become a lorry driver.

12:50 PM, March 30, 2009  

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