Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Tony's place

What with the onset of autumn and the cooling of the weather I find the call of the greasy spoon that much harder to resist. I went for a wander this lunchtime and decided to give Tony's Snack Bar on Chapter Street a try. I've walked past it dozens of times I suppose but today for the first time I peered in and knew straight away that I was onto a winner. It's about a five minute walk from the much vaunted Regency Cafe. And part of its attraction was that compared to the Regency, with its crowds and bellowing hostess, Tony's is an oasis of calm.

The seating consists I think entirely of booths - my favourite arrangement, the whole look of the place is pleasingly muted and, while I'm sure it's well within health and safety requirements, the place doesn't seem fanatically antiseptic. I can't stand places where every aspect of the decor is subservient to hygiene.

My lunch there, not too promising at first sight perhaps - the squared off egg, the sausage sliced down the middle. I normally specify two sausages, egg and chips but, trying a new cafe and not wishing to make a fuss, I just casually requested sausage, egg and chips and to hell with the consequences. Sometimes that'll mean two sausages, sometimes not. Now I know. It was all surprisingly tasty and, washed down with a can of coke, it came to £3.50, which was good value - especially compared to the £7.70 I ended up paying last week for a take away burrito over on Fleet Street.


  1. What a crazy arrangement - I'm a huge fan of fry ups (or baked breakfast as my kids call them). But square egg and split sausage who engineered with that one? I could go nuts for these places but so many are getting Starbucked. Luckily we made a couple of trips Picasso's in the King's Road before it closed but Pellici's in Bethnal Green is still on my to do list. The kids and I used to keep a baked breakfast book scoring local caffs. The Classic Café in Westcliff is the place to go, top marks all round

  2. you lucky boy (again). tony's is the tops. and has the best cafe sign in the whole world


  3. Mondo - If I’m ever in Westcliff and feeling peckish I’ll know where to go. And I've just had a google and Pellici's looks almost too perfect.

    The decline of the Great British Caff is sad but that's just the way of things - I don't think they can be artificially maintained. I've heard Starbucks blamed before but I don't get that to be honest - if I want a fry up I'm not going to settle for an Americano and a slice of Rocky Road.

    Ally - yes, my life is just a round of giddy pleasure. I wanted to take more pictures at Tony's but felt too self-conscious, though they're probably used to cafe-nerds snapping away.

  4. The Starbucks thing isn't so much the menu, more that they take over the venues so many great caffs in London once occupied, but, have gone bust due to rents that only the corporates can afford. The Copper Kettle near Liverpool Street was one I'd been meaning to visit for yonks, but now it's either a Costa or Starbucks

  5. Fair point on the rents. I don't what the answer is to that, or why greasy spoons seem to be so vulnerable.