You’ve smashed your iPhone screen, left your house keys in an Uber and been deserted by T-Bone, that small stray dog you befriended and shared something magical with at 3am. You are a mess. Let’s get something down you that’ll make everything OK again. The salt-beef bagels from Brick Lane’s world-famous Beigel Bake will give you a big motherly belly hug at all hours, as will a classic doughy ring stuffed with jerk chicken from Bagel King, equidistant from Oval and Elephant & Castle Tube stations.
Look at you, you bloody mentalist! Coffee! At this hour! If only T-Bone, the small stray dog, was here to see how little you care for convention. Maybe he’d have never left? Set your coordinates for Bar Italia, the capital’s most famous go-to coffee stop for self-destructive sleep dodgers. Or, if nuclear-strength Turkish coffee is what your chronically messed up body clock craves, head to Kingsland Rd. The Bridge is “only” open ‘til 2am, but you’ll be jittering maniacally long after sipping on its rocket fuel.
Oh Christ, there it is. The sun, on its way up, making a total mockery of the fact your bloodstream is still a powerful coalition of Stella and Apple Sourz. You can’t go to work like this! Quick, up you go to the 40th floor of the Heron Tower to chow Duck & Waffle’s 24-hour brekkie of a confit duck’s leg atop a waffle and drenched in maple syrup. Or, if the city’s skyline is nowhere to be seen, head to Balans Soho for some spicy and sobering “Eggs In Hell”, or even a superbly stodgy bubble‘n’squeak from VQ. All three are available 100 per cent of the time, all of the time… forever. Unlike that small, stray, deceitful mutt T-Bone’s companionship.
What happened? What did you say? She seemed so interested in your Sunday league team. Doing the hair-twirly finger thing and everything. Were you talking about T-Bone the small stray dog again, by any chance? You just can’t get that goddamn animal out of your head can you? Now you’re alone and tearfully hungry. Luckily, there’s a whole world of eye-drying international comfort food waiting for you at silly buggers o’clock, includingHong Kong street food from Leicester Square’s HK Diner (until 4am), or theLebanese chicken shawarma from Maroush (5am), the Turkish mince meat and dumplings from Somine (5am), and the tapas-style haggis Scotch eggs and mustard at La Cabina (5am).
The dog’s gone, mate. Time to accept it and move on. You know what might make you feel better before you head home? A no-nonsense English breakfast. Treat yourself to a ham and cheese omelette with chips at the Polo Bar whenever you fancy, or a fry-up at Café Don Quixote near Holborn, or even sit with a bacon sarnie in your hand and watch the butchers of Smithfield Market start their business from 2am. But what’s that nuzzling at the meat man’s calf? The greasy snout… the asthmatic wheeze… it couldn’t be. But it is! It’s T-Bone!
An international festival of light
Dinner in a decommissioned 1967 underground carriage
Half-price brunch and a HUGE fried chicken burger