I was enjoying a most welcome midday pint today when my neighbour’s lunch arrived. He had ordered double-egg, sausage, chips, and beans. It took me back nearly sixty years to the Ace Café on the North Circular Road in west London, near the Hangar Lane Gyratory (as it is now known).
My band played gigs most Fridays and Saturdays, and we were always hungry afterwards. Since the chance of assuaging that hunger occurred rarely before midnight, there were precious few eating opportunities, but the Ace Café (pronounced 'caff') was open 24/7.
It was a dodgy venue. The Ace was a notable biker café and these were the times of Mods and Rockers; woe-betide either one discovered in a watering-hole frequented by the other. We trod a delicate path; not Mods, perish the thought, but wearing vaguely faddish clothes and definitely not bikers. I was challenged in the queue once on account of a paisley scarf and a tailored leather jacket I was wearing. The interrogator was a biker-girl with plenty of reinforcements close at hand. I spluttered my innocence, face turning red. What a wuss.
The ‘food’ was all cooked in animal fat. I recall a large tray half-an-inch deep in the stuff with around twenty or thirty fried eggs in it being brought to the serving bay. Healthy it was not, but it was hot and it was available, any time, day or night …
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs