The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Breakfast Club, Shoreditch

The Breakfast Club
2 - 4 Rufus St
N1 6PE
020 7729 5252

by T.N. Toost

Say you occasionally work with a man who is dating a divorcee with a daughter he charitably describes as a “free spirit.” Say you’re going to London, and the daughter lives there; she is American, but lived in Toronto for a few years and therefore says she’s Canadian because it sounds more sophisticated. She modeled when younger and studied French literature at uni and moved to London because the American city she lived in wasn’t exciting enough for her. Say you yourself have a healthy distrust of people who move because they feel too good for their current surroundings and have a thirst for adventure, because these people are the kinds of people who can’t make their own lives interesting and depend on others to do it for them – that these are the kinds of people who, thoroughly bored, are thoroughly boring. What kind of place would they suggest for breakfast? Further, why would you ever go there?

I found myself asking the latter question on a Thursday morning at the Hoxton Breakfast Club. The eighties décor gives one the unmistakable sense that an incredible amount of thought went into every detail, and serves as a wonderful reminder that good design doesn’t betray effort. There were unflattering high-rise jeans and shirts tied around small waists. Fairly good double espressos were trumpeted out by our waitress, and then a man with an amazing neon watch brought out the plates.

We’d agreed to split the All American and the Full Monty. My partner’s pancakes were nowhere near being American; small, dry, hard and cold, they barely benefited from some of the syrup that tried to pass as maple. The eggs were large and had bright orange yolks, which spoke well for them, but their watery tastelessness reminded me why I don’t often order poached eggs. The vegetarian sausage was a lump of mashed vegetables, formed into a patty and left on its own for someone to discover and not enjoy. My Full Monty was better – beautiful eggs, fried, with standard bacon, standard sausage, standard black pudding, standard etc. I liked the Espresso and the bacon, but only because the English versions are so immensely superior to what we usually get.

In the end, the answers to my questions should have been clear from the beginning: a girl who leaves the States for London seeking excitement would, of course, urge upon us a restaurant with a 1980s American theme serving an "American" breakfast, and this breakfast would, overall, be far inferior to what we would have gotten back home, and why we would have ever followed her advice in the first place would be something I would not know.


Anonymous terry said...

I love London and I am a Yank as you call us, one of the polite names. Please don't let this one time referral from a random American sway your opinion about us. I would be very skeptical about asking an American where to eat in London, I know that's not fair to the general population, no, wait, it is. An explanation could turn into a rant, so, in the future I hope you don't judge us on one bad egg. Reading what you wrote you already have...x

4:18 PM, October 30, 2011  
Anonymous Malcolm Eggs said...

The LRB loves America, especially the breakfasts.

With regards to this review, the writer is also American so it shouldn't be read as any kind of generalised, transatlantic judgment.

4:23 PM, October 30, 2011  
Anonymous terry said...

Ok, I'll take the generalised judgment like a side of toast.

4:48 PM, October 30, 2011  
Anonymous Sam said...

I've been to The Breakfast Club and thought it was really nice!

12:15 PM, October 31, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this was a fair review. I've tried two of the Beakfast Clubs and the food is really really poor, as is the service.

11:20 PM, February 07, 2012  

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