Saturday, 13 November 2010

Best breakfasts: J&A Cafe, London

The concept of uncovering a little gem is made all the more satisfying when said gem is hidden down a discreet alleyway.

In the case of J&A Cafe, it's so well hidden that just walking through its doors filled me with a sense of triumph. They open into an airy room with five gorgeous black metal framed windows down one wall and bare brick on all sides. There's classroom-style chairs, an open kitchen, and the counter groans with tall, inviting cakes that make me wish I blogged about afternoon tea.

The place is lit with dangly metal lights and buzzing with young staff in red aprons. It's all very New York and so is the service.

A friendly young chap apologised for not being able to recall the choice of teas from the extensive tea menu (it was his first week, he explained) and swiftly brought me the piece of paper. Teas were split into caffeinated and non-caff. I chose the Mighty Leaf Tea Ginger Twist, although rather wished I'd been more indulgent when a huge frothy cappuccino was served to the table next door, and was eaten slowly and adoringly by the breakfaster as if it were an ice cream sundae.

The menu is simple and wholesome, including J&A fry-up (£8.50), pancakes (from £6), organic porridge (£3.20), eggs and soldiers (£4), toast (£2.50), and my choice, scrambled egg with smoked salmon and Irish soda bread (£8.50). The latter was the highlight - freshly baked, crusts with a bit of crunch, nutty flavour and divine thick texture.

The eggs were good too - tasty and textured, and not overwhelmed by the reassuringly pale smoked salmon.

There's nothing more to say. A delicious and simple breakfast, perfectly executed.

J&A Cafe, 4 Sutton Lane, London, EC1M 5PU; 8am-6pm, 10am-4pm (Saturdays)

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