A flat white from Subway? Us? Hyde? What a deliciously crass conceit! Let the high lords of London’s food scene gossip and scandalise, we’re going in!
First sip: Well, we didn’t recoil in horror. Serviceable, but we wouldn’t go so far as to recommend it to anyone.
How to justify it to yourself: This is the chain that weaned all of America off McDonald’s, man. They’re making the world a healthier place.
Ok, full disclaimer. We’re not totally sure this actually was a flat white. The poor woman behind the counter didn’t speak the best English and we didn’t feel like explaining the whole “microfoam” thing in front of a queue of impatient customers all tweaking for their daily Big Mac fix.
First sip: An old-fashioned coffee. The world has moved on.
How to justify it to yourself: No one actually “minds” McDonald’s anymore, do they? There are bigger, eviler corporations to worry about.
Greggs. Functional, profitable, northeastern powerhouse Greggs. Greggs doesn’t care that you laugh when the comedians on TV make jokes at its expense. Greggs will crush you. Greggs is the Terminator. Greggs is the Conquistadors. Greggs is the only truth in a universe of lies.
First sip: This is more like it! Syrupy-sweet, as if some caramel has snuck in there. Hard to detect any notes of coffee but it’s pleasant.
How to justify it to yourself: You’re in Greggs! You’re like Louis Theroux in Southern America, seeing how all the mad people live.
The most sanitary, genteel option, no doubt. After the earthy bazaar of a McDonald’s queue, the M&S hot food counter is a quasi-utopian experience. Breathe easy. You’re among friends now.
First sip: Smoky and woody notes. Nice leafy foam art on the top. Perfectly fine, perhaps a bit safe.
How to justify it to yourself: It’s Marks, baby. No justification required.
Ah, Giraffe. The divorced, disco-dancing uncle of the high-street food-chain party. Unlovable, desperate to please, and destined to be mourned by no one.
First sip: Basically just hot milk. Nothingness. The void.
How to justify it to yourself: You’re helping to prop up British business in a difficult economic climate.
An international festival of light
Dinner in a decommissioned 1967 underground carriage
Half-price brunch and a HUGE fried chicken burger