My wife, MsB, and I used to live just across the river from Vauxhall, half way between Pimlico and Westminster tube stations, for many years, and we like to think that we still know our way around the area pretty well.
So when we recently came across Kennington Lane Cafe, next to Vauxhall tube station, on Tripadvisor, while researching good breakfast places in the area, we were nearly falling out of our shoes: #1 breakfast spot in London? #2 ‘restaurant’ out of roughly 20,000 London restaurants? For a greasy spoon with the atmosphere of a badly run rural gas station? Less than a mile from Regency Cafe (our review here), a greasy spoon with all the splendor of a 1940s corner cafe, featured in many famous movies?
There was only one way to find out if Kennington Lane Cafe was worth the ranking or not. Breakfast. Earlier today I finally made it and ordered the Kennington Lane Special, which comes at £6.80 with just one fried egg and the usual English breakfast set-up, including two slices of black pudding and an unidentified fried potato object.
The service was rude and unprofessional from the beginning. I was asked without any care about niceties like “please” not to block the way (which I wasn’t, no one was trying to pass by me, and I was standing on the side, not in the middle) while briefly checking out the menu on the black board on the wall, then – when ordering immediately, on command – given incorrect change three times, before they got it right. My buttered slices of bread had a large piece of ripped plastic cover from the margarine tub sitting on top, so large that a blindfolded blind person looking the other direction would have had no trouble spotting it, and my coffee (which pretended to be Lavazza, but had either been raped and slaughtered or instead consisted of some instant coffee dissolved in builders’ tea) arrived more than 5 minutes after my breakfast.
To be frank, the breakfast wasn’t particularly bad, probably similar to several hundred greasy spoons all over the country, but there was certainly nothing that would make it stand out.