Sophistication is the death of humble life. This is perhaps clearest within the food industry, where modern cuisine pushes the boundaries through its sheer complexity. From the appearance of “fusion” to “molecular gastronomy”, it’s often that restaurants try to be ever more original and different. A break from all that is needed, and the Regency Cafe comes in.
Location: Regency Cafe, Westminster, London
Camera: iPhone 6
Long queues are not something I am comfortable with unless I’m in Asia, where good restaurants have a seemingly permanent line of people waiting to go inside. Just the other day, in fact, I refused to eat at trending Bao exactly because my stomach refused to be put off for another half hour (at least) for something I consider (and will later return to this place to confirm) to be a fad.
The Regency Cafe then must be an exception. There was a queue from the moment we got there (which was rather short) to the moment we left when it well extended outside the restaurant and into the street. But the crowd felt different – most seemed to be locals that came here to eat because this was a good, affordable restaurant, not because it was London’s new restaurant to dine at.
As shouts such as “Graham, are you waiting for toast?” go around, one can easily feel at home. It’s a very easy and smart trick, if you think about it – the owner (presumably) takes down everyone’s order and, as the food is prepared, shouts after them to come and pick it up. At times, when leaving the tables, people get called by their name and thanked for popping by (to their own surprise).
Unsophisticated is definitely the theme: food is cheap, and most of the options available are the ones to be expected. Nothing fancy, nothing that could take too long to cook. English Breakfast for Anca (5.50£), and some Regency Eggs Benedict (5£) for myself.
Whilst being the first time I have eggs Benedict with the egg being fried instead of poached (this does indeed save time and lowers the complexity of the dish), it tasted great. Runny yolk on the inside, and the eggs didn’t acquire a bad taste from frying nor was it oily. The muffin was soft and fresh, the sauce hollandaise was delicious (this description could be the culinary criticism of a 5-year-old, I know). The English breakfast was also good – the tomatoes had a nice, grill flavour (didn’t try much else).