Nico’s Cafe-Diner

So my meandering lunch visits took me recently to Cambridge Heath Road, the border that divides lovely Stepney and Whitechapel. On the western side of this important traffic artery sits Nico’s Cafe-Diner, a little treasure trove of all things food. Not limited to the usual greasy spoon fare, they offer greek specialties, grilled bits and all sorts of other goodies.

The condiments are placed strategically at the heart of the table, like a group of Russian Energia rockets.

The eggbaconchipsandbeans is truly magnificent and clearly is so far the best I’ve had in the whole of London and now nudges Mr G off his long held number one spot as the best EBCB in the capital. Just look at this:

These are not chips, but lovingly sauteed potatoes hiding under this magnificent bacon and egg arrangement. The beans are almost hiding in shame, confronted with all this magnificence. The bacon and eggs are placed in a bit of an oppressive fashion, with the plebeic potatoes almost asking for more air. All in all an amazing display, and well worth every penny.

All hail our new favourite ebcb.

Astro Star Cafe

Today my travels took my into the western East End and I was in need of breakfast. When I saw the sign, I knew this had to be tried. Who knows, the owner might be a famous science – fiction writer or an astrophysicist (or a Zoroastrianist).  The amazingly and appropriately named Astro Star Cafe is situated in the middle of hip and happening Bethnal Green in the almost East End of London (also colloquially known as the centre of the known universe). As you can see, the Cafe is rather blurry and has a distinctive right shift. A physical phenomenon directly attributable to its name.

The food is as great as the name of the place. After being greeted with a friendly smile at the counter (and they are so outworldly trustworthy that you don’t even have to pay in advance) you order and sit down and read your ipad Guardian. The food soon arrives, and my god, it’s gorgeous:

Look at the extact geometrical placement of the hashbrowns (it was a bit too early for chips) and the geometrically correct semicircle of this sea of beans. The egg looked like a fiery sun with a golden corona, just about to be attacked by the threatening crispy bacon. And delicious it was as well. The cafe was clean, the swearing factor of the punters moderate (about 3 f-words per minute on average) and service efficient and courteous.

I think I might use this as a permanent deep space docking station.

Three Colts Lane

Three Colts Lane in Bethnal Green is not the most beautiful of streets in London. Dilapidated pubs like the Duke of Wellington above and grey victorian houses scatter one side of the street. The other side is a steam punk’s dream, though. One black cab repair shop next to the other (I counted eight) occupies the railway arches and there are literally hundreds of these steampunk vehicles scattered around.

picture courtesy of Taxi Nerd on Flickr

…and after you make it past the cabs, you can stroll through Weavers Field, a large open space in the middle of Bethnal Green. And in it’s middle, you can marvel at a statue that certainly must be the finest proponent of what I would call ‘Orwellian Art’:

They should call it 'Synergy: Exercise and CCTV'

Workers Cafe, Bethnal Green

This cheerful cafe was bursting full when I entered on a rainy Wednesday. Eggbaconchipsandbeans were ordered within seconds by a very efficient waitress and the cooking crew behind the corner gave their darndest to keep the dozens of punters in this busy cafe happy. The condiments looked smashing and complete, the design on the large coffee mugs was simple and effective, and the table was nice and clean. While waiting for my feast, there were some mutterings behind me by some lads that “muttermutterthis is a workers cafe and that people wearing shirts should stay in their own places muttermutterand have their fancy lattes and ciabattas”. Next time I’ll visit I’ll don a Lenin style hat, a Kim Yung Il jacket and read The Daily Star to counter those accusations. It wasn’t even a particularly nice shirt.

no condiments for shirt wearers ?

no condiments for shirt wearers ?


Anyway, the ebcb was lovely: crunchy, golden chips that were covering a flock of beans and firm and tasty bacon. The cuppa of coffee was strong and milky and the mutterings of the chaps behind soon stopped after their own food came. Lovely place and obviously very popular, but be sure to wear the right garb before entering on a work day.

Workers Cafe

254 Globe RoadLondon

E2 0JD