Okay, I’ll come clean straight away – I like greasy spoon cafes and all they stand for; good cheap food quickly served with no fuss, none of that three small bits artfully arranged somewhere on a huge plate stuff.
While the term greasy spoon used to denote somewhere cheap and downmarket, it is now more often used in an endearing sense. Going way back, today these wonderful places are often family owned and run where you can get a Full English Breakfast and a mug of tea to eat on a Formica table for around a fiver, but they are in decline. The street spaces they use are now usually seen as prime real estate to put yet another boring chain hamburger café or suchlike, I only use those as the last resort and some I boycott completely owing to their tax dodging.
So here are a few London greasy spoons that I have been to in recent times in A-Z order;
Arches Café, 202 Three Colts Ln, Bethnal Green, London E2 6JN
Very recently refurbished, good food, great service, you could acclimatise yourself to earthquakes when a train passes overhead
Belsize Kitchen, 68 Belsize Ln, Kilburn, London NW3 5BJ
Been here for many years, has a Hollywood and James Dean feel, food is fine
Crescent Café, 85 Crouch End Hill, London N8 8DE
Unusually a bit out of a main street location but it is obvious the local regulars like and use it, pleasant helpful people run it
Double Bubble Café, 408 Garratt Ln, Earlsfield London SW18 4HW
Seats outside in good weather, all of these places seem to have their regular customers, this one no exception
Frank’s Café, 132 Southwark St, Southwark, London SE1 0SW
Behind the Tate Modern and does a roaring trade which is hardly surprising as the food is good and cheap too
Fryer’s Delight, 19 Theobalds Rd, Holborn, London WC1X 8SL
More of a fish & chip place as the name implies but any English breakfast combination available, bit more expensive than some though
Jungles Café, Central Parade, Gunnersbury Lane, Acton Town, London W3 8HL
Friendly place with good service on a busy corner can get very busy at lunchtime, tube station across the road and TfL staff make good use of it
Little Portland Café, 15 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London W1W 8BW
Not far from BBC Broadcasting House, this has a very good menu; lots of sandwiches etc, some staff came here from the sorely missed Café Lido
New Star Express, 71 Chapel Market, Islington London N1 9ER
In one of London’s main market streets, students seem to like this place, and so they should as it is good value for money
Regency Café, 17-19 Regency Street SW1P 4BY
Place your order, take a seat then a loud voice will announce it’s ready, all in a busy lovely art deco style ambience, gets very busy lunchtimes of course
There are more greasy spoons in and around London, and outside the capital. When you’re next not sure where to eat and see one of these, give it a try, you will surely like it. A proper meal for the same price as an overpriced sandwich and coffee in many places, the greasy spoons have come of age and are basically great value for money.