The new book from Black Dog publishing by food writer SimonMajumdar and designed by in-house designer Leonardo Collina, gives an exhaustive directory of the best and most loved greasy spoons, chippies and sandwich joints the capital has to offer.
As well as thoughtfully written text, the little guide is illustrated with beautiful and mouth-watering specially commissioned photography and examples of signature menus.
It’s a treat to see some of the traditional signage and shop fronts: Maries Café, with its endearing lack of apostrophe and charmingly peculiar illustrations is a lovely example of the charm of these little establishments.
While somewhat more sophisticated, there’s no denying the inviting gleam of the Golden Union’s neon or the nostalgia-inducing simplicity of this beige and red ‘fish & chips’ sign, both from Soho’s Golden Union fish and chip shop. You certainly know what to expect.
Among the raft of wonderful eateries, we were chuffed to see Bethnal Green’s famous E.Pellici get a mention. Not only does the place do a wonderful brekkie, it’s housed in a gorgeous 1946 Art Deco building, designed by local carpenter Achille Capocci. Oh, and some lovely young lads called the Kray brothers were partial to it, when they weren’t pursuing rather less wholesome activities than munching sandwiches.
The book also features a handy glossary of oft-used caff terms. While ‘bap’, ‘brew’ and ‘bubble’ may be common parlance, we were heartened to find out that the ‘wally’ is a gherkin. It can, says the book, ‘be enjoyed in a sandwich or, more typically, with fish and chips, simply eaten straight from the jar.’
A Guide to London’s Classic Cafes and Fish & Chip Shops is published by Black Dog Publishing priced £9.95