After a typical ‘English’ Christmas filled with eating, drinking, eating, playing Xbox and eating, my boyfriend, myself and two friends jumped on a plane to France for a fun-filled week of snowboarding and partying. Safe to say when we got back to London on the Friday, we were exhausted! As our cupboards were spider-web empty, on the Saturday, covered in bruises and with every step causing my muscles to scream, we ventured to the Asda Superstore – a 20 minute walk that seemed to take a lifetime. However, on the way there, a holistic pit-stop came to us in the form of the Sunny Side Up Cafe. Following Christmas and New Year’s, we, along with most other people, were flat broke. We had also contracted some sort of ‘tour group’ disease causing my nose to run like a tap and my boyfriend to cough like a 10-pack-a-day smoker. Hungry, tired and suffering, we decided to stop for at least a coffee. But after considering the Sunny Side Up’s menu, we realised were in for a welcome treat.
For a staggering total of £7.00 for the both of us, we were presented a HUGE, and I mean GIGANTIC, full English breakfast, including grilled tomatoes or baked beans, sausages, bacon, eggs, hot chips, a coffee and fresh bread. Expecting to be served a plate full of grease and fat, it was all the more satisfying when the food was more than satisfactory – I would even venture to the realm of calling it ‘healthy’. The bacon was lean, the bread was fresh and thick, the eggs deep orange (not that horrible fluorescent yellow), and the chips – well the chips were chips, however they were not salted! So I could salt at my own free will. Believe it or not, that was my breakfast. My boyfriend was content with an equally satisfying, and equally enormous, bacon butty.
The Sunny Side Up Cafe is what we would classify as VFM (Value For Money). Working out of a permanently stationary caravan, nestled in a random, industrial, (not too eye-pleasing if I’m honest) region of North Acton, with a basic seating area built onto its side, the Sunny Side Up Cafe wasn’t exactly my first choice for a lazy, Saturday breakfast. However, after tasting the delicious, belly-filling food, experiencing their service with a smile, and paying a pittance for all combined, I was so pleased that we went back the following weekend!
I believe VFM says a lot about an establishment. As I said above, we went back the next weekend, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we go there again this Saturday! During thought-leading, provocative discussions – like what we were going to have for dinner that night, whether we had enough Lemsip drinks, and what movie we should watch when we got back – my boyfriend and I debated how in the world it is possible to turn over a profit with a system like Sunny side Up’s– loads of good food for so cheap. He told me a tale of two cafes near his job site in Mayfair – a lesson I will take with me right through to establishing my own Cafe. He said there were two cafes directly opposite each other, where all the tradesman and local workers would visit during smoko’s and lunch breaks. He said they were always pumping with people, and were obviously in direct competition with each other – yet both cafes were VHM e.g. full-English and tea for a fiver. However, one decided to boost its reputation and went “all fancy with outdoor heaters and stuff,” – as my boyfriend so poetically described it. But not only did it completely overhaul its image, it upgraded its prices too – with one coffee costing almost the same as a whole meal across the road.
Apparently now, every time my boyfriend and work colleagues visit their local coffee house, their’s is packed, whilst the “fancy” one only ever has one or two “suits” drinking coffee – never eating a full-English.
And that’s a lesson I think definitely worthy of remembering. Everybody loves a bargain, and no one likes being ripped off. It may not be sustainable to do food as cheap as the Sunny Side Up Cafe, but I’ll be happy if I can ensure people believe my food is worth paying for, and that they are getting VFM every time.