Youre not going here for your standard fry-up, you are going to get a gentrified fry-up. Behold the rise of the clean spoon
For years the trusty British caff has been the domain of lorry drivers and hung over students but not for much longer. With the second branch of Sir Terence Conran’s Albion opening up just behind the Tate Modern on Bankside, he is apparently hoping to turn the Albion chain in to a ‘British Carluccio’s’ (thanks to Jonathan Prynn of the Evening Standard for that quote) and kick-start the caff scene once again.
The layout here is almost identical to the original in Shoreditch: artisan grocery in one corner, tables peppered with cream enamel-wear, cutlery in Golden Syrup tins, ketchup and HP sauce taking up the rest of the space. The menu is fairly heavily breakfast based — harking back to the old greasy spoon — with an all day breakfast bap featuring on the evening menu too.
All of the food is very British from pies to welsh Rarebit and the mains are good value, even if some of the smaller items seem a little overpriced — the breakfast bap at £8 has always been a sticking point for me.
I popped in with fellow Spear’s-er, Sophie McBain, last week before heading to a rather raucous bash up the road. We rather splurged on the savories – excellent pork crackling, garden vegetables served simply with a mint and beetroot dip and half pint prawns. The half pint prawns were huge, meaty and delicious – some of the best I’ve had in a good while. A little foolishly we then both plumped for fishy mains — kedgeree and fish pie — leaving us feeling a little defeated. This is not to say that the mains weren’t good. They were great, hearty and generously sized (hence the defeat).
I like the format here. It is good, British grub, even if it has been given a suit and tie rather than a set of overalls. Then again, you’re not going here for your standard fry-up with baked beans slowly destroying the somehow glorious cheap white bread dripping with butter, you are going to get a gentrified fry-up. Behold the rise of the clean spoon.