Scoff & Banter
20 Mercer Street
Cinnamon Caramel Crusted Toast: £5*
Pot of English Breakfast tea: £3.75* (optional 12.5% surcharge)
No booking required
Sending this report from the front line of Scoff & Banter, a restaurant in Covent Garden specialising in that most underwhelming of gastronomic choices: classic contemporary British. For those of you unaware of this seemingly oxymoronic cuisine, let me explain the concept in its most simplistic form:
1) Spread mashed spuds on top of chewy bits of undercooked mince = classic British fayre
2) Charge £12 for it, usually prefaced with “only” to give the illusion of good value = Contemporary British prices
Of course, I don’t agree with paying to eat food ironically. I don’t eat sausage and mash or fish fingers at home, so why I’d pay to eat them in public as though the entire concept of pasta has alluded me is something of a mystery (plus I don’t trust anything of an unnaturally orange hue. Equally applicable to both food stuff and humans). I do however like dessert, especially one that promises to combine cinnamon and caramel to shamelessly sugary effect.
I demand that this plate be filled with more blobs of ice cream. NOW!!!
The interior to S&B is plush and relaxed; purple velvet chairs and upholstered sofas with flower motifs and tea lights lit during the day which rather defeats the point of lighting a tea light to begin with. I – having been on a quest at Neil’s Yard Dairy to source North Staffordshire oatcakes – collapse into a chair and await my order, nibbling the complementary green tea biscuits served with my tea. Do you know that moment when you receive a free biscuit and suddenly you are revising your shopping list to include a box because you’ve forgotten that everything always taste better when its free? Well, green tea biscuits breach this convention. It’s not uncommon. Biscuits that harbour pretentions of health and well being often leave you feeling like a horse chewing through a nose bag of oats.
A weeks worth of sugar consumed in two minutes
The “toast” comes as something of a surprise. To be honest, I had expected to be served focaccia toasted into shrapnel with a caramel compote set to one side. What I actually receive is a crème brulee/ crème caramel / sponge cake delight with vanilla ice cream and a brittle sugar coating that glues my back molars together. Not toast. Definitely not toast. In fact in normal, pre-Scones in the City days I’m not sure if I would have considered this to fit into the category of afternoon tea at all. Yet it does feature tea, and it is taken in the afternoon, and it definitely is great, good and gooey, so it deserves to be recommended on sheer enjoyment and indulgence alone.
One thing I will not be recommending however is the God awful Wifi connection that works in intermittent bursts of thirty-second increments before cutting out for three minutes at a time. Damn you, The Cloud! Damn you to hell!
*Prices correct as of 05.6.16
Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx