Jenny Eclair, our favourite Camberwell comedian, returns home from her Fifty Shades of Beige tour with horror stories of bad hotel breakfasts
Hello Londoners, lovers of artisan bread and exotic pigs’ trotters! May I take this opportunity to remind you how lucky you are, for you are bang slap in gastro heaven and it doesn’t take long by Toyota Land Cruiser to realise that all is not equal in food and grub.
Yes, I’m on tour again, and those who have read this column over the years will know that this is an occupational hazard, not a euphemism for being in prison/rehab. The new Grumpy show, Fifty Shades of Beige, is making its way around the country, and may I say there are some places where breakfast is best avoided.
I’m going to single out a certain hotel in Hereford for a complete bashing, considering that the only fruit on offer was a choice between plastic or tinned and, when we asked about the possibility of tea, we were pointed in the direction of a wicker basket of Tetley tea bags and a flask of boiling water! Dear reader, we marched out.
The thing about rubbish food and service is that there’s no excuse for it any more. We are inundated with food programmes on the telly. We all know the deal. You’d have to be living in a cave not to understand what eating out in 2014 is about – good ingredients, cooked well.
A good breakfast is not about price, it doesn’t have to be stupidly expensive. My biggest bugbear is the hotel hot buffet – that depressing line of stainless steel troughs containing mushed up beans, watery scrambled egg and limp sausages, all sitting on a hot plate for hours on end until the whole lot gets chucked away at precisely one minute past 10. Surely it’s cheaper to take individual orders? Or at least supply a cold buffet that doesn’t count little boxes of Alpen as cutting edge!
I know what you’re thinking – ‘Oh hark at Lady Muck!’ And you’re right, living in London has spoilt me, watching telly has spoilt me. I expect too much. So three cheers for the omelette chef in Swindon who hand-cooked me an egg-whites only job (just like the models have). Obviously it was disgusting, but that’s not the point – disgusting is what I ordered, sometimes even I can’t complain.
Talking of food, well done to all the new restaurants in Camberwell and Peckham, which are gathering rave reviews from food critics everywhere. It takes me back to 1882 when I worked in a wine bar on Camberwell Church Street, called Bartholomews, which was trendy for about 10 seconds – so trendy that it was rumoured Cliff Richard had once eaten there. Heady days indeed!
Seriously, so gastro-fashionable has our area become that locals are asking me to keep my Twitter trap shut – ‘We don’t want too many bridge-and-tunnel types (ie north Londoners) poking their noses in’. Who’d have thought, eh?