Archive | May, 2012

Salt Beef Bagel at Beigel Bake, Brick Lane

25 May

LOCATION: Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB [map]

PRICE: £3. 70 (possibly)

BREAD: White bagel

FILLING: Salt beef, mustard, PICKLES (we’ll get to those shortly)

PROS: Ahhh Beigel Bake, you nostalgia arousing, late night vending, hangover soothing old friend, you…KISSES. Me and BB, we got history, see? I can’t begin to count the amount of times I’ve staggered over that threshold, drunk as a skunk. I’m in and out in a matter of minutes, clutching my beefy booze sponge. Efficient. I want to love it and hug it and squeeze it but mostly, I want to get it in my face. It’s best not to look directly at me while I’m doing that by the way, a bit like the way one shouldn’t look directly at the sun. That shit can get a little explicit. Beigel Bake is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for all your drunken needs. This of course means it’s also there for you when you’re hungover, which is how I found myself queuing up on Sunday afternoon, shuffling along, semi-catatonic, pawing at the wall for stability. I never order anything but the salt beef, which they cut into soft slabs of obscenely pink meat, gilded with glistening wibbly fat. Melty. There’s mustard of course and it’s proper gnarly – the kind that shoots up your nose and gives you a head rush; a bit like an Embassy Number One at 6am. In fact the mustard is one of my favourite things about Beigel Bake, largely because when you say that you would like some, they shout, “ONE WIV!” at the bagel assembly person down the front. He doesn’t respond; he just gets on with the spreading, the slicing, the wrapping, the twenty four seven churning…I’ve met only one person who lives in London and doesn’t like Beigel Bake. He’s American. Go figure. Over and out.

CONS: I always seem to forget (nothing to do with the fact I’m always inebriated when I visit) that pickles do not come as standard and need to be requested as an extra (for 50p). This means I ended up, yet again, with no pickles in my bagel. I was on the verge of calling Amnesty International. Why not offer them at least? Point. Lost.

SCORE: Nostalgia + booze = 7/10

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Croque Monsieur at The Delaunay, Aldwych

3 May

LOCATION: The Delaunay, 55 Aldwych, WC2B 4BB [map]

PRICE: £5.75

BREAD: Sliced white

FILLING: Ham and Gruyère cheese

PROS: Well, melted cheese is never a bad thing, although when I say melted…

CONS: …what I actually mean is, melted at some point, quite a long time before arriving at my table. Congealed. Bendy. This was, without a shadow, the worst croque monsieur I have ever eaten. So, instead of delivering a croque monsieur, The Delaunay decided to deliver a game. The game was called: ‘Find The Croque Monsieur Under a Big Pile of Salad Ha Ha Ha Sucker!’  What the actual piss take is a mountain of (under-dressed) baby gem doing on top of my sandwich? Oh and the sandwich is TINY, by the way. I put the two halves together and they did not amount to a full sized slice of white bread, even with the crusts removed. On the inside was a really generous amount of spectacularly poor quality ham; you know, the shiny kind. The Gruyère was a very poor example – apologetic, pathetic. The whole thing was blistering hot on the outside and stone cold in the middle. The bread was so greasy it reminded me of a caff I used to visit in Oxford where they deep fried everything, including the sausages and bacon. In short, I didn’t rate this sandwich. The Delaunay is a lovely room however. They can have one point for that and one more for the waitress, who was charming and brought me a Martini.

SCORE: 2/10