I love London cafes. They're a disappearing facet of a city that is changing before our very eyes. Some of our old favourites from when I lived down there seem to have gone, like Alfredo's on Essex Road. Today my bessie mate John Dixon took me on a stroll to one I'd not been to before - E Pellicci in Bethnal Green Road, just around the corner from where the Kray twins stalked their manor from their home on Vallance Road.
Yes, my escalope was tasty. John's egg and chips were spot on too, but it wasn't just about the food. What made it so special was a slice of London life - it was rammed, so you just pile in and share a table, pairing up with a smart metropolitan couple and then we were joined by an 88 year old Eastender and her daughter. We talked about food, change, life and salt levels in white bread.
The staff worked the place hard, they kept checking you were alright, it was busy and noisy and full of love. They got everyone singing happy birthday for a regular punter, it was warm, funny and cosy. John got given a cake as it was his birthday too.
In a moment of drama I dropped my glasses down the side of our table, then realised I didn't have my phone either (I'd left it at John's office, it turned out). The staff turned the place upside down looking for it, offering to locate it, even as the place was filling up to the brim. So no selfie, no picture, so I'm trying hard to throw as much of the colour of the place as I can - wood panel walls, a tiled bar, chrome exteriors. But its character and colour was a mood, a feeling and a wonderful authenticity.
Queuing up as we were leaving was the Young Soul Rebel himself, Kevin Rowland, just thought I'd mention it.
Next time I'm in visiting my friends at Intuit UK in Victoria I think a trip to the Regency Cafe is in order.