After foiling the best efforts of the capital’s workmen to impede straightforward access to the premises from nearby Tower Hill tube station, De Vine is an unassuming caff tucked cosily beneath the railway bridge arches. A notice on the fridge advises of a sale on bottled beers – £1 each. Alongside it, a selection of impressive looking cakes are available for purchase. None of this £4 for a slice of something elaborate that’s sat out all day on a poncy stand nonsense. Nor some delicate x-sized cupcake hiding under a metre of garish icing. It’s a slab of cake. And you know you want it.
But enough of that – we are here for breakfast, and this is certainly taken seriously at De Vine. A healthy array of … well, perhaps ‘healthy’ isn’t quite the term, but a substantial array of full breakfast options adorn the board. I am informed by a regular that in addition to the extras on the menu, it’s open season on any of the sandwich filling options too if you want any of them added on the side. This is a new but welcome riff on the usual greasy spoon tune, and so we place our orders with added sides of fresh sliced avocado. The requests are accepted unblinkingly by the proprietor, who then whisks back promptly with several vats of coffee – another big tick there.
The breakfasts are dished out without undue delay, and they certainly do the job. It’s unusual these days to find a place that does two black puds by default, but here it is. The sausage, bacon and egg are without fault and it must be said that perfectly fresh avocado makes a remarkably good Full English accompaniment. While it does tread on dangerous ground by introducing ‘greenery’ to the scene, it neatly fulfils the ethos of the Full English by being packed with calories and fat. It’s a clear winner.
Our hearty (in all senses of the word) feast comes to around six quid apiece, and that speaks for itself. A “De Vine” breakfast is all that the name would suggest and with all of its unique features, you won’t find a place like it so go search it out – it’s worth the trek.