There’s been a surfeit of incredible news stories this morning, 1 April. Frankie and Benny’s can claim it’s banning ketchup; Austrian restaurant Kipferl can claim it’s going German; and Dark Arts Coffee can claim it has surrendered control to an east London rival. But on this day of what is essentially elaborate shitposting, there will be no greater post than the daily menu from Cafe Deco, Anna Tobias’s unfussily exceptional Bloomsbury restaurant. Proprietors of around 50 percent of the restaurants that have opened in the capital in the last five years may wish to look away now.
Like any good menu send-up — in whose pantheon must be included this, by Eater London contributor George Reynolds — its highlights combine the real and the hyperreal. No diner at a modern London restaurant in the last five years has not had a high hydration Chef Bread that would have been infinitely better if bought from a bakery; neither has that diner gone more than a few meals without seeing cured egg yolk slid on top of some cut-up beef. Nobody, however, has ever seen the words “perpetual bone broth” on a menu before.
Moving forward, notice the superb contrast between the over-elaborate processes and derivative ingredients in “Textures of beetroot, olive soil & horseradish snow,” and the poetry of the abrupt line break on Cull Yaw. How is it cooked? No-one knows. It’s cool. Forget about it. While there could be some additions — a steamed, savoury set custard that is only being called a chawanmushi for clout, or an austerely seasonal plate of pasta badly matched to its shape — it’s strong throughout the savoury portion.
Finally, a special nod to a London trend that very definitely needs to die: breakfast desserts. More savoury, sharp, and “not too sweet” desserts are welcome, much moreso than the parade of chocolate cremeuxs with some caramel and nuts, or a bad tarte tatin that is never worth the 25 minute wait. But if dessert tastes like something to eat at 7:30 a.m. on a cold morning, it should meet the same fate as all the other London restaurant April Fool’s posts in waiting, that will not be any better than this: Sack it off, please.