02 February 2013

The Right Side of the Tracks: Bea's Diner Review

Update (2015): Sadly, Bea's Diner is no more but you can find Bea's other ventures here and here.

Who needs Breakfast at Tiffany's when you can have breakfast at Bea's? A fortnight ago, snow didn't stop play exactly, but did mean a change of plan when we found out that Bea's Diner on Druid Street was closed. Since then, we've been plotting our return, and although it was pretty chilly this morning, it was also lovely and sunny. Besides, what better motivation to get out of bed on a Saturday morning than pancakes with bacon and bottomless coffee?

Bea's Diner, Druid Street

Bea's Diner is the south-of-the-river outpost of Bea's of Bloomsbury. It's part of the Maltby Street food market (also known as the Spa Terminus area), but technically, it's nestled under Arch 76 on Druid Street, which means you get the odd rumbling of trains passing overhead. The diner is open on Saturdays from 9 am until they run out of food. We got there at 10.30 and got one of the last tables and by the time we left, an hour or so later, a critical mass of hungry, under-caffeinated Londoners were eagerly waiting to pounce on our table. Going early is, then, a good plan.

L: Nearing the bottom of the bottomless coffee. R: Warehouse chic.

The menu is fairly simple: pancakes, French toast or poached eggs, with various combinations of accoutrements. I ordered the buttermilk pancakes with a side of maple streaky bacon, and a "bottomless" coffee. The pancakes were delicious, although I may have gone a little overboard on the maple syrup given that the bacon was also heavily maple-soaked. The bacon was really tasty—it could have been slightly crispier, but when it's such good quality bacon, I don't mind so much; you also get a generous portion of bacon (take note 124 Coffee House!). £6 for the pancakes (£8.50 with bacon) is pretty reasonable given the quality and quantity. The Hasbean coffee was good too: strong and flavoursome. But we didn't get the chance to put the "bottomless" claim to the test, as by the time we were reaching the bottom of our second mug, we started to feel guilty for continue to linger at our table when there was a queue. To be fair, though, they should have got up earlier.

Pancakes: check. Bacon: check. Maple syrup: check. Coffee: check.

Bea's Diner also hosts regular events—last November, they did a Thanksgiving dinner and on Tuesdays, they do movie nights, screening a classic film, accompanied by classic American comfort food. It's still a little chilly to be venturing out to a warehouse under the railway on a Tuesday night, but once the nights start getting a little milder, the movie nights sound like a great idea. In the meantime, I'll have to "settle" for Saturday brunch.

Bea's Diner. Arch 76, Druid Street, London, SE1 2HQ (Tube: Bermondsey or London Bridge). Website. Twitter.

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