It’s easy to get sentimental about things that are leaving London and I’m unoriginal so I’ll get sentimental now. Friends, for example, leave London rather too often for my liking. Pubs, obviously, are another chasm when they withdraw from the neighbourhood; although that kind of sentimentalism can be overdone. Often they’re crap pubs. Not shabby pubs, shabby pubs are usually good. But crap pubs, well I don’t get sentimental about them.
Which is a rambling introduction to the subject of the Little Portland Café, a Greasy Spoon survivor in a district of rampant chainification.* And it does it well. Arriving early we were installed without delay. By the time we came out people were queueing out the door (as you can see from the photo).
And what do they come for these hungry office people? Food cooked well in the traditional manner, as in without a dash of this or a thing of this on the side. All on one plate, well executed things that you want to eat. So I had tortellini with a little salad and a cup of tea (well, it has to be a cup of tea doesn’t it?), while across the way there was a pasta with chorizo (a bow of the knee to fashion there I guess).
Service is charming but subtly emphasises that there are other hungry people waiting. We were in and out in thirty minutes.
*Even places you didn’t think were chains on first visit (i.e. were the sole trader of that name) just turn out to be calibrated to within an nth of their lives try outs for a franchise. And you feel yourself naïve when all of a sudden there’s an outpost of them in each of Shoreditch, Kings Cross, Soho (natch, that’s where the outbreak, like cholera, is first detected), Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and soon enough I’m sure Islington (if it hasn’t started yet), Stoke Newington, Finsbury Park.
Wood Green? Not bloody likely, that would ruin the image.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).