Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, these installations, with their pretentious names, trustafarian clientele, and ironic attempts at providing traditional greasy-spoon fare but with an organic, health-food bent, stand accused of being fucking shit. I will show by evidence that these... eateries... are overpriced, annoying, useless, and generally direbollockal, and that their gimmicks, such as bicycle repair, art galleries, or similar only serve to highlight what a waste of time they really are.

Exhibit A: The Old Tram Depot, Upper Clapton Road, London E5 8BQ

This opened just up the road from me and one Sunday morning when I'd had a lie in I thought I'd pop in to see what it was all about and have a spot of brunch. I'd been out headbanging at the London Stone the previous night and with one of the songs ("Grease Stop" by The Macc Lads) resounding in my ears still, I resolved to go and have a big fry up, bacon and egg, sausage and mushroom, tomato and beans, fried bread, and some orange juice. A nice bit of brunch, if you will. So I trolled in and ordered it all.

"Sorry, we don't have fried bread. It's not healthy enough," said the Australian woman behind the counter.

Oh well, I'll have to go without. I did have enough bitter the previous night to floor a warhorse, so it's only for the best that I keep the calories down. Still, you can't have a grease-stop without fried bread. It is unhealthy but it's not like I have it to excess every morning. Come on, people. Oh well. So, bacon and scrambled eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato, and a few beans. Yum. And a glass of orange juice. And toast, of course. They do have all this. I don't like tea or coffee because I'm a bit weird like that. So I sit down. I look out the window. I look at the other punters. I read the complementary Observer cover to cover and it makes me very borsant, as newspapers tend to do nowadays. I look out the window. It's traffic and rain. I sip my orange juice, which is foulsome. It tastes like water that someone spat in after sucking a lemon. I go and say as much to the staff. They offer to change it for free for some freshly squeezed orange juice, which tastes of something but you get the juice from one orange, so there's not much there.

Bloke who came in ten minutes after me gets served. I go and ask what's going on, have they had to go and kill a pig out there or something, but nothing. Finally, after nearly two hours, it arrives. It's wrong - they've give me fried egg, when I wanted scrambled. I send it back. Half an hour later, it arrives, and there's no butter for the toast. That takes another ten minutes to find. Then, the true horror emerges - I eat it.

The egg is acceptable but dry. That's the best part. The rest of it is hopeless. The bacon tastes like warmed over cardboard. The sausage looks like a burnt cock and there's only one of it, and it's burnt and dry throughout. The beans are obviously Tesco Value. The tomato is okay but burnt, and the mushrooms are rubbery and thodden. I eat up, pay, and bugger off.

Incidentally, the chaps at the table next to mine were still waiting for their sandwiches when I left. One of the said sandwiches had been supplied to them, but it was wrong.

It's £8.50.

There was an art gallery in the back but I didn't go into it because the gormless staff would probably think I'd buggered off and chucked my brekky in the bin accordingly. From what I could see it was typical Britart wannabe guff.

Oh yes. One final thing - when I posted my complaints, without foul language or abuse of any kind, on their Facebook page, it was swiftly deleted.

Exhibit B: Dreyfus Cafe, 19 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0NS

This is a place I went for my lunch one day at work. They do a variety of stuff, all of it expensive, interfered with, and in miniscule portions. As in five quid for a sammich smaller than that which you'd get at a Pret and still less tasty. They also have the same brand of orange juice as the Tram Depot that's frightfully expensive and tastes like water that someone's spat in after sucking a lemon. At least you get served though, but I'd rather avoid it, to be fair. The less said the better. However my work mates like it, well, some of them. Well done them, because they certainly have been.

There's other places but I can't remember them in too much detail. Suffice to say that they were all expensive, staffed by some useless beardy effort, did mingy portions, and had some sort of gimmick to try to appeal to their target audience of useless beardy efforts. There's one on Old Street which is a combined café-bar and bicycle repair shop, the bus stop from Court is outside it, and looking inside you can see more ridiculous Lycra outfits than an episode of Gladiators. And they all look like the sort of cyclists who go through red lights and see nothing remotely dangerous in so doing. My recommendation is to go up the transport caff instead. True, you'll turn the bogs at your workplace into a fire hazard for days afterwards but at least you won't SIT FOR HOURS SURROUNDED BY HIPSTERS WAITING FOR EXPENSIVE CHOW THAT'S WRONG AND CRAP. Unless, of course, it's Chez Kiki...

(And breathe.)

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