Monday, 10 May 2010

A Regency feast, fit for a party prince...

It is not unfamiliar, waking up on a sofa bed in a strange room wondering what hit you, and then remember drop by painful drop, the night before. Difficulty swallowing that comes from the dry mouth and the knowledge the body is working from the beat, beat, beat of the thumping head; the sore stomach, puffy eyes and morning stubble (and, no, I didn’t need to reach out to check if I was alone!) There is only one way to overcome such feelings of shame and self loathing: a full English fry-up.

Is it the atmospheric buzz of a café that brings an element of life into the protesting body? The combination of noisy chatter, kitchen clashes and cooking smells? The sweet meaty scent of frying bacon, the warming yeasty aromas of bread slowly browning under the grill, the crackling sounds of the sizzling eggs? A ‘morning after’ fry-up cannot truly be called breakfast without all this.

One place that provides all this is the Regency Café. Tucked away off Horseferry Road, it is the traditional haunt of taxi drivers, builders, Channel 4 media types, and countless civil servants, made more famous by appearing in advertisements and television dramas. Hard hats and i-phones, boiler suits and puffas, Regency Café is one of the best so called ‘greasy spoons’ you will find in town.

From the street, the booming voice of the owner’s banter can be heard in the street. (Repeated calls for ‘breakfast with chips twice!’ followed by ‘Oi! Darlin’! Do you want me to fax it to you?’ a clue to some of the weekend clientele, though always said with a smile and a wink, gives an idea that breakfast is already in full swing). Inside, it is like a set from the swinging sixties, tables with wicker effect Formica and walls covered in photos of grateful celebrities (I sat next to a signed photo of Al Pacino). Always busy, always popular and more importantly spotlessly clean, army fashion.

So, what can you say about the food? Well it is a fully fried English Breakfast, Do I need to say more? Well yes. The sausages at Regency were really tasty, slightly herby, plump and juicy, and well cooked. The black pudding was also good, black to aubergine dark coloured slices of velvety sausage with flecks of oat in, giving a textural contrast to the smooth centre (thankfully, this variety did not have the white lumps of fat that some black puddings have). The eggs fried and yolks runny enough to dip the toast in. Beans are beans and hash browns generous in size but obviously not home made (well it is not the Ritz now is it!?) Sadly the bacon was a little over cooked for me, though previous experience tells me that this was an exception. I shared a pint of orange with my friend, the only healthy part of my breakfast. And of course, what would the morning fry-up be without the tea? Strong and orange brown in colour, served in a mug and piping hot. It would put hairs on your chest, as the expression goes, if I hadn’t enough of my own already. A filling, fully satisfying meal and excellent value for under ten pounds (waxing not included).

Regency Café, 17-19 Regency Street, London SW1P 4BY
T: 020 7821 6596‎

1 comment:

  1. I know where to go for a greasy spoon now, if I ever need to get a step closer to a fully fatty fry up clogging my arteries up :))) I really liked the blog, you made the food sound so utterly good and delicious, even though you're describing a simple but tasty fry up!