An unassuming exterior, you could walk past every day and never notice it. A tardis interior, full. The room is a collection of welcoming green inbuilt booths, most of them split. Shouting in Italian, English and (perhaps) Polish, greet you like an air curtain as you walk in. High vis jackets, suits, journalists, media types, tourists with massive cameras, grubby me. People are coming up from a hidden basement through the kitchen. Takeaways are passed this way and that, over the counter, through a hatch. Every table is Formica and on the walls faded twee images of London’s past. A mad blackboard hangs with everything known to man. Every surface has a glorious patina.
The food is prop-ah. Accessible, tasty, and mostly carby. A retaining wall of hearty generosity against the grinding winter world outside. Breakfast is large, big, or big big. Beans and chips are on every plate, and Bacon sandwiches are so very girthy. Carbonara is a creamy, hammy, OTT plate of silky ridiculousness, however no one orders pizzas. The endless sandwiches on display slowly dwindle alongside plastic-wrapped desserts. The Bakewell tarts sit there with eager bright red nipples. There is a steaming bain-marie with a stew and chicken Milanese. Deliveroo and Just Eat drivers try to be pushy but fail.
It is the sum of its parts. Something that just works. Does it know why? The last greasy spoon of its kind here in Soho. The friendliest bastion I know. My local.