The Dervish, Stoke Newington
15 Stoke Newington Church Street
020 7923 9999
by H.P. Seuss
It is often remarked that beans are to the cooked breakfast as the Dutch Mercenary Forces were to the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. Keep them in check and they will perform unglamorous but vital tasks about the empire of the fry-up; sweetening sausage, lubricating toast, communing with chips, &c. Exert insufficient discipline upon them, however, and they will soon exhibit their mania for chaos. They teem. They flood. They carouse like drunken navvies.
And once on the ascendancy, they indulge in all kinds of trickery. They engulf an egg with the multitudinal terror of Balinese ants smothering a sleeping deer. They drown bacon with the mercilessness of a South Sea squall swallowing a Sumatran fisherman. Your breakfast paradise becomes a gooey mess.
At the Dervish on Saturday, my plate arrived in chaos. Beans everywhere. Not very nice beans, either. Give 'em a good stew and beans become fluffy and tameable; these were tepid and watery. They seemed to be multiplying, too. I'm sure I saw one of them elongate, narrow around the midriff and blink itself in two. I built a dam with my sausage to protect my egg from the riotous mob - but the damage was already done. I rescued what I could before leaving the plate to the orange terror, mushrooms and tomatoes floundering in the mire.
Why had I not heeded the lesson from The Blue Legume up the road? There too, the proportions were all out, the bacon and eggs practically an after-thought, upstaged by veg. Call it the N16 ratio. I eyed Molly Coddle-Degg's bespoke order of eggs, bacon and sausage enviously. Sensible Molly. The jewels of her breakfast crown had pride of place, untouched and untainted by renegade elements. When in exotic climes, in breakfasting, as in empire-building, divide and rule is the thing.