Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Beppe's Cafe - London

23 West Smithfield
London
EC1A 9HY

Opening hours
Monday to Friday - 6.30am till 3pm
Saturday - 7am till 1pm


Beppe's Cafe can be found on West Smithfield, a short walk from Smithfield Market.



 
Established in 1932, Beppe's Cafe is one of a handful of classic cafes still remaining in London. I really liked the original green tiled exterior and signage, this place has really stood the test of time.



The interior is really impressive with its original wooden counter and classic water urns.




The traditional booth seats are a rare sight these days, I love places like this!



The staff were busy preparing buffet food during our time here but they still made time to ensure we were well looked after.



Fridge magnets from all over the world covered the fridge.




I'm not sure who the people were in the photos but I felt sure there was a strong link to the cafes history.



This classic sugar pourer felt right at home here.



The breakfast menu is made up of 6 very reasonably priced set options, add extra items for £1 if you want to make up you're ideal breakfast. The vegetarian breakfast isn't listed on the menu but is available if you ask.



Glass cups, now these take me back. My wife went for tea and I ordered a coffee, a proper old school frothy coffee! 




I was half expecting to find sauce in squeezy bottles here, they arrived in sachets though.



The breakfasts were a good size and tasted great, our bill for everything was just £13.30!




I chose Beppe's breakfast #1 with a few added extras, black pudding, tomatoes and a hash brown.




The fried egg was placed exactly where I wanted it, on top of an entire slice of golden fried bread.



I was surprised not to find bubble and squeak on the menu here, the hash brown was nice enough though and the black pudding was delicious.



If only all bacon could taste as good as it does here, nice thick rashers from Smithfield Market.




The sausage was a delicious Cumberland variety.



My wife's vegetarian breakfast came with a tasty mix of halloumi, mushrooms and spinach.



My wife was treating me to a weekend in London as a birthday present, an ideal opportunity to visit some more London cafes I thought. I started researching London cafes a week or so before the trip but struggled to find somewhere that really stood out as being special. Restaurant chains and pubs serving breakfast were everywhere but this wasn't what I was looking for, I was searching for another classic London cafe. My search was proving quite unsuccessful until my friend from The Fry Up Police suggested Beppe's Cafe which he'd spotted on Instagram. This place looked perfect so once off the train we headed straight there...

Upon entering - After admiring the exterior of Beppe's Cafe with its original green tiling and stunning "snack bar" sign we headed inside. With the sun beating down I'd usually choose to sit outside on a day like this. Beppe's Cafe has so many original features though that I just had to see everything so we picked a booth inside beside the door. The classic booths with white tables and green seating were comfortable and nicely placed alongside the windows. On the other side of the cafe is the counter and display cabinet, behind here is the kitchen. The original wooden fronted counter sits proudly with chrome pipes from the water urn standing tall on top. A selection of fridge magnets gives a hint of where staff and customers have been on their travels over the years. The black and white photos on the walls remind you just how long this place has been open for. I couldn't be certain who was in the photos but I had a strong sense that they were an important part of the cafes history. (I've since found out they are Serg's Grandparents, the original owners) The breakfast options on the menu give you plenty of choice and the reasonable prices will make you look twice wondering if you've mis-read it. There's full table service so just grab a booth and you'll soon be well looked after, simply pay the bill at the end. The sugar comes in classic pourers, sauce sachets arrive in a box, cutlery is brought over wrapped in a serviette and there's a toilet in the basement should you need it. This place has heaps of character. If something works then don't change it and this place was testament to that. 10/10

Service - We were greeted by a lady behind the counter when we arrived and a menu was brought over to the table. My wife enquired about a vegetarian breakfast and I wanted to mix and match some extra items to a set breakfast, this wasn't a problem at all. There was also a chap behind the counter, the boss I believe called Serg who was busy cooking the food. The drinks arrived very quickly and the food arrived about 15 minutes later, not bad at all considering the staff were also preparing a large quantity of buffet food. The staff here clearly know the cafe like the back of their hand and can cope calmly at the busiest of times whilst remaining friendly and efficient. We overheard some banter between the staff and some other customers, it was clear that the regulars here were more than just customers and the sense of community spirit was strong. It made me realise that to many this place wasn't just a local cafe but also a lifeline and place to make regular contact with others in the community. Halfway through our breakfast the volume of the music was turned up, usually I'd be slightly irritated by this but here it just added to the overall character of the place and made a good soundtrack to finish our food to! 10/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 1 fried egg, 1 slice of fried bread, tomatoes and beans. 7/10

Presentation - A nice large plate is used here giving plenty of space for the food to lay comfortably across it. When it comes to fried bread I always eat the egg on top of it so was delighted to find it served this way when it arrived. The meats were nicely browned, the tomatoes were chopped into chunks and there was a generous dollop of beans. 7/10

The food - A Cumberland sausage accompanied some delicious bacon, both nicely cooked and from the nearby Smithfields Market. Often black pudding can taste a tad bland but here it had a nice rich flavour and deep red appearance inside. The fried egg had crispy edges and an almost runny yolk, on top of the golden fried bread it was a tasty combination. The beans were piping hot, the hash brown was crispy and the chunky tomatoes had plenty of flavour. 7/10

Value for money - We were very pleasantly surprised when we paid the bill, our two breakfasts with drinks came to just £13.30, bargain!! 10/10

Veggie option - Halloumi with mushrooms on a bed of spinach, 1 fried egg, 2 hash browns, tomatoes and beans.

Overall - Beppe's is a family run Italian cafe that is still standing strong since it first opened its doors in 1932. Many restaurant chains have since dominated our high streets but Beppe's Cafe along with Regency Cafe and E. Pellicci are untouchable, classic London Cafe's loved by the locals and steeped in history. If you want to enjoy a good honest down to earth fry up at a classic London Cafe then be sure to head to Beppe's, the service is excellent and it has heaps of character. 8.5/10


2 comments:

  1. Nice looking brekko. I too was surprised that there was no bubble on offer but nice black pudding is a major plus. The veg one I could eat happily too. Great price considering the area.

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  2. I guess this entry and the next one proves how much the old-fashioned greasy spoon has diversified in the (almost) 20 years since I emigrated. I ate in the equivalent of Beppe's over a large part of England while working as a freelancer, the likes of Frizzante would have had me scratching my head. The only way I want to see pigs at breakfast time is on the plate!

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