I like to think I am kind of normal, not quite “cool”, and not really very “hipster”, but just pleasantly in the middle – I appreciate similar things to such people, but it doesn’t entirely define me. I just don’t get it.
I like good food and finding new places to eat, I wear “geeky” glasses (but having worn them since age 6, I don’t really see what the big deal is, especially as most of those who do wear them now were the same people who once picked on me for having “four eyes”), and I like craft ale, good wine, a hip bar and all those other things that suddenly we all seem to enjoy. But I am not quite sure what it is that takes it over that edge when you are suddenly defined as a “hipster”.
So, on that note, I have decided to start a mini-series looking at those places all the cool kids go – do they deserve the rap?
First on the list, although unbeknownst to my companions, was the newly-opened The Breakfast Club in Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf.
On the last Bank Holiday Monday we decided to have a *very* lazy brunch (at 2pm) and check this new place out. My friends had been to the chain’s other offerings in Shoreditch and the like, and said the food was great.
As lovers of breakfast food, off we headed.
Our stomachs rumbling, we checked out the menu online, so as to get to ordering as quick as possible when we finally sat down.
I had decided on The All American – a feast of pancakes, bacon, maple syrup, eggs, sausages and fried potatoes. NOM.
After half an hour of waiting we got to the front of the door – at last we could see into this heralded place! Downstairs there is a quiet diner-style area, however all the action appeared to be upstairs. But alas, we didn’t see up there, the only spaces for three people was downstairs. But tummies grumbling, we took it – just give me BACON AND PANCAKES!
The girl on the door, who had slouched and made no attempt to console people’s fears that they may not actually seated, asked us hesitantly if we were sure? Why wouldn’t we be, we wondered?
Turns out we should have asked. You can’t order half the stuff downstairs, as I found out when I excitedly told our very lovely waitress I wanted The All American. Being a tad hangry, I told her we wouldn’t have sat down there had we known we would have a limited offering. Overhearing this, the young woman on the door muttered to the waitress “Well how do they know what’s on offer – they haven’t even looked at the menu!”
C’MON! You had half an hour to tell people that the offering downstairs was different, but you were more likely to get a seat. And you can’t expect people standing outside to not be curious as to what’s on offer and check out the restaurant’s website! And, the people on the table next to us had done exactly the same thing – just to reinforce my self-righteousness.
Fortunately, our waitress was lovely and told me she would make me that anyway. So thank you, kind lady, you made my stomach happy. And you were so pleasant about it. Unlike the other staff member, who proceeded to glare at our table while she propped up the door frame, having been told she needed to start communicating with customers.
I don’t particularly like commenting on other people’s jobs, but just because you have a line of people coming out the door doesn’t mean you can be nonchalant towards your job. We all have days when we can’t be arsed, but when you are on your opening weekend, you would think you would put a bit more effort in.
Anyway, the food. Actually, the drinks first – we all went for the Elvis shake – a thick peanut buttery, ice creamy goodness. I will eat anything with peanut butter in (or just from the tub) and this made my stomach and my heart happy.
My specially prepared breakfast arrived swiftly, and it sure looked good. The sausage was very tasty, pretty herby, so not for all tastes, but it was meaty and thick (that’s what she said). But there was only one… I kind of expected another sausage. Had I made it at home (which I probably will do), there will definitely be two sausages on that plate. The eggs (fried as per my request) were perfectly cooked, and the pancakes were light and fluffy.
It certainly filled a hole. And I wiped the plate clean.
But was it worth the hype?
The location is awesome, and being new it has that exciting buzz. Our waitress was friendly and warm, and the food was good. But, was it worth £11? As someone who is still trying not to hyperventilate any time I buy anything in London, I find it hard to justify. It wasn’t mind-blowing and, while I enjoyed it, it didn’t feel special.
Perhaps I am finding too much to be negative about, but this is my first. I might reflect on it with nostalgia the more I experience London. I might head back, but I would rather go to a dirty cafe, filled with builders, which does a greasy fry up for under a fiver.