Health Check: The Regency Cafe (Pimlico, London, UK)

Every once in a while it’s nice for me to do a followup on old favorites, revisiting them and make sure that they are staying in form. One of my oldest reviews on this site is almost 12 years old: a visit to the famous Regency Cafe, which is pretty much the canonical British “Greasy Spoon” for the London area, attracting a wide cross-section of London society all looking for the classic, stick-to-your-ribs old-fashioned Full English Breakfast, aka a “Fry up”. Actually, this is probably my dozenth visit to the Regency “Caff” since first coming in 2006, I usually make it a point to visit at least once every trip (although holiday closings and my odd travel schedules have prevented that a few times). So, while they neighborhood has changed a bit (like much of London, sprouting newer, taller buildings), the Regency is still going strong.

In this case, I did what’s become my standard order, refined over the last few visits. The “Set Breakfast” with baked beans remains the cornerstone of the Regency experience (if for no other reason than hearing the staff bellow out, loudly, “SET BREAKFAST! BAKED BEANS!” loud enough to wake the dead), I do find myself wanting, to borrow an American expression, just a little more cowbell. So, with that, I ordered my now standard “Set breakfast, baked beans, mushrooms, black pudding, and well done tomato.” I sit back, enjoying my coffee (from the eerily overly-complicated mid-20th century coffee urn), butter up my toast, and a few minutes later, I’m greeted with the call: “SET BREAKFAST! BAKED BEANS! TOMATO! MUSHROOMS! BLACK PUDDING!” and bring my haul back to the table.

It’s still every bit as awesome as I remember. The bacon was nicely crisp. The sausage was delicious, especially with a little dab of brown sauce. The black pudding the same, with a particular nice crisp. The mushrooms and beans add a nice vegetable note to things, and the tomato a nice, pleasing tang. Sure, I certainly shouldn’t eat like this on a regular basis, but for a classic, well-done old school “fry up”? The Regency can’t be beat.

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