When in Rome…we drink tea in London as well as the mighty Blighty in its entirety. And we’re not talking Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, White Monkey Arse, etc and heaven forbids the pointless rooibos! We’re asserting with fervour a tea that’s robust and full-bodied and proceeds well with the addition of FULL CREAM milk instead! A cuppa that assuages thirsts and at the same time equilibrates your well being, ‘tis the builder’s tea we’re ‘arping on ‘bout mate!
It’s an absolute pleasure to pen my tuppenceworth about City Snacks. Like so many other caffs and eating joints in London, it remains unsung and neglected by my contemporaries. So if I may, grant me the Lancelot status; this post isn’t about the biggest and rarest breed Porterhouse steak or the freshest blow-torched otoro sushi you can ill afford to eat and certainly none of the frivolousness surrounding matcha niceties. I’m only here to champion a cup of tea and a bit of egg and bacon on the side. Friends, Londoners, countrymen…pay attention FGS!
I assume that City Snacks have been around since time immemorial. I do accept that assumptions are often precarious but the second one suggests Italians run it, what with the posters of De Niro and Pacino on the walls and no indication of Bruce Lee or the Hagia Sophia to confound matters. Like the extortionately pricey Bar Italia, the interiors of City Snacks warrant a Grade II listing by English Heritage. The wonderful red formica tables hemmed within pygmy booths poignantly justify the case. City Snacks is by AM a greasy spoon, by lunch a sandwich bar and from then till four, a haven for skivers in suits or dis
misplaced tourists scotting around for the Soane’s museum. I usually turn up here before 08.00, the frequenters are usually blokes, but if you’re lucky, you might witness the odd Madam barrister scouring over her notes before being restored to full battle readiness by her cappuccino! Table service, quite unlike the ignoramus maximus collective of the nearby Modern Pantry or St John is well meaning and efficient. The praiseworthy service is due to the young Eastern European girl, who takes your orders, makes your drinks and waits.
A real cup of builder's tea resides here and it’s yours for a mere 70p a mug. Builder's tea has to be made from super industrial strength tea leaves, or sacks or bags. PG Tips come to mind. It has to brew longingly, stewing withstanding, in a catering tea urn. The dispensed dark red infusion is now added with the right amount of milk to make Ralph Lauren shriek in horror that he never invented khaki beige. Blessed sugar. Only processed white sugar rules the wave, and none of that poncy and raw demerara whatchamacallit, one or two teaspoonfuls a bare minimum but if you’re purist like I am then three’s magical. "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." So stir forth, rest the cup, sip therefrom…satisfaction vouched.
Peckish? Fair enough but don’t cloud yourself with preposterous esoterica sarnies like crayfish and arugula or breast of roast Poulet Anglais and micro salad, Let’s just stick to summat real; egg and bacon roll. Providence defying, you know and I know it utopifies! And much more as it’s served warm and at only £2.50!
A supposedly full fry-up (without black pud, we’re Southerners after all!) to include toast (nowt but white) and a cup of tea or Lavazza (yuck!) coffee is available for a fiver. Or you could construct your own like I did here with a couple of greasy eggs over easy on buttered toasts accompanied by a lonesome banger that hardly complies with any attributes The Soil Association might dictate.
You done? Now pay at the counter and tip generously. Walk across the road and onto the best cake shop in London and buy some of these. Because elevenses beckons in a couple of hours.
Don’t tarry, your mug of bulider’s best awaits. Highly recommended.
As I was writing this post England lost to France and of all places it had to be at Wembley! #&%*! England captain Rio Ferdinand said: "We can do better, we didn't play until the last 15 minutes and it's a bit disappointing. We didn't play to our strengths, didn't retain possession and there are things to work on when we next meet up. There's room for improvement." I say Rio- get a grip, have a cuppa tea and sort your boys out!
29 Theobalds Road
City of London