Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
I am a big fan of the humble egg, with it being one of nature’s most versatile (fast) foods. You can do so many things with it to make a quick meal – fry, poach, coddle, bake, boil, scramble it, make an omelette with it to name but a few.
It is, therefore, unsurprising that someone has set up a fast food joint that focusses on the egg. Spaniards have been doing this for donkey’s year, mind, with their bocadillo de tortilla.
I was put on to Eggslut (truly horrid name – what possessed them to call it that God only knows, but seems it is a kitchen term for someone who always asks for eggs as an extra AKA an eggslut- regardless it is a gawd awful name) by a post from Gourmet Gorro on Las Vegas (whom I regard as a very reliable source of info. when it comes to finding places to feed my face). In his post on the wider food joys to be had in Las Vegas, he mentioned a visit to Eggslut there and to it having recently opened a branch in London.
Eggslut (urgh) is apparently a phenomenally success in the States with people queuing for up to 2 hours in Sin City (not a City exactly short of places to eat) to sample their wares. Has to be really good on that basis, you would think, surely?
I have heard this sort of talk/hype before regarding US fast food, mind, and was bitterly disappointing with what I got for the “remortgage the house” money required to get a Shake Shack micro burger when it opened in Cardiff.
Looking on the web, the reviews are mixed and alarm bells always ring in my head when a place is described as “Great for the gram”. A case of “Never mind the quality, feel the Instagramability” or “Instagramazing, yet instantly forgettable?
Anyhow, I was in London on a Sunday (up for the weekend for rather fine Marques de Murrieta tasting – the Castillo Ygay Especial Blanco 1986 was an utterly sublime, nectar of the Gods, drop) with a bit of time to kill before my train back home and noticed that the place was west of Paddington, a short walk from Labroke Grove tube station. As I was already on the right tube line (Hammersmith and Fulham), I thought what the heck I’ll give it a go.
It is a very popular place and when I arrived at 1pm there was already a queue, which had got bigger (below) by the time I left
Once through the door it was clear the kitchen was working flat out.
It is a pretty efficient operation, with almost miltary precision in terms of ordering and getting food to the pass.
Inside it is fairly basic with stools and rough hewed high tables.
You wait at the counter for you order
and then find a seat (the ones at the counter provide a fascinating view of the operation) or take out.
On the take out front the food here is seriously messy, with a high napkin count.
On this basis eating on the run would, I imagine, be tricky – but there seemed to be plenty prepared to take the risk. I declined the take way option, on the basis (being pathologically clumsy) I would undoubtedly have got runny egg all over my beard, top, trousers, shoes, socks etc.
If you (like me) choose to eat in, the place is certainly set up for a quick bite as opposed to somewhere to linger. A case of egg fast for breakfast.
As the name suggests, the menu is all about the eggs,
whether scrambled, fried or coddled, on their own or as part of a burger/sausage/bacon/steak combo.
Prices are what I would describe as “bloody hell”, with a fancy pants scrambled egg and cheese roll (the Fairfax) at £9 (£11.50 if you add bacon, second charge on your house (£14.10) if you add bacon and sausage) and a steak (waygu tri – tip) and egg roll at a whopping £15.
All serious money for what is a fast food joint based on the humble egg (no matter how free range, organic and pampered the eggs and layers of the same may be) and bread.
I started off with signature dish in the place, called the Slut (dreadful name!)
This was a coddled egg (at the £9 price I expected it to have been totally mollycoddled) cooked in a glass jar with pureed potato, gray salt and chives. The idea is to mix it up in the jar and then used the toasted baguette slices, as soldiers, to dip in the runny egg and potato mixture.
Despite the ghastly name this was quite nice, with the egg properly runny and a very smooth and well seasoned potato puree. What it didn’t do, however, was fill me up. I also thought it quite expensive at £9 for what is a concoction of pretty cheap ingredients (albeit put together rather well).
As I was still hungry, I ordered the sausage, cheese and egg sandwich. This is pretty much what you get with a Sausage & Egg McMuffin at Macdonalds, but at a whopping £9.50 as opposed to the £2.59 McMuffin!
Again this was actually not bad, with a good runny fried egg, luminous orange cheese (plastic variety – a guilty pleasure of mine, but here it needed to have been just that little bit more gooey) and a well flavoured, herby, turkey sausage patty.
The brioche bun (touch too sweet for my tastes) had a nice squishy texture and held together to the end despite the runny egg.
The issues I had with it were the lack of any real discernable garlic, mustard or honey from the advertised honey mustard aioli and the whopping price tag of £9.50.
Nice, but nothing special, was my immediate thought on having eaten it.
Nice, but nothing special, just doesn’t (to my mind) cut the mustard (on top of lack of it here in the aioli) when it comes to fast food, with a £9.50 price tag. For a sausage, egg and cheese sarnie it needed to be mind blowingly good to justify that price and it wasn’t.
Interestingly, according to Gourmet Gorro’s post this same sandwich is $8.75 in Vegas, which is £6.79 at the current exchange rate. That is still pricey for a fried egg and sausage sarnie (with plastic cheese), but a price I could live with and one much more sensible than the £9.50 I paid.
No booze on offer, with the drinks menu limited to soft and hot drinks.
Not much to say about the drinks list, bar from it being a bit pricey.
I had a white coffee which was ok (bit non – descript taste wise), but overpriced at £3 (£3.50 if you want it with oak milk, which I most certainly didn’t).
It is certainly an interesting fast food concept and I enjoyed the slut (sounds very dodgy that) and the sausage, egg and cheese sarnie (the slut more so), but to me the key issue here is the price. What I got simply wasn’t worth the money they are charging.
Give me the option, whilst in London, of a Bleecker bacon and cheese burger at £7.75
or a Ari Gold burger from Patty & Bun for £8.75 or the £9.25 Lambshank Redemption (see that is a clever and nice name)
and I will take them every time over the £9 slut or £9.50 sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Miles better and cheaper.
I paid £21.50 for my slut (sounds even more dodgy), an egg, sausage and cheese sarnie and a coffee. This is just way, way, way too pricey.
I had (before seeing Gourmet Gorro’s Las Vegas post mentioning Eggslut) thought of having, on the day in question, Sunday lunch (£17.50) at the Cork & Bottle wine bar – just by Paddington Station. I wish I had stuck to my guns, if I am honest. Damn you Mr.G 😂 – although to be fair I was a bit wine’d out by that stage of the weekend having whacked my way though 19 different wines the day before. Giving a wine bar a miss the next day was probably for the best.
Whilst I think it is a good idea to focus on eggs in a fast food environment, Eggslut’s offering massively overeggs it (had to say it, sorry) on the price front.
What you get is pretty paltry (again sorry, couldnt resist😁) for the prices they charge (cheep, cheep they ain’t – last bird gag promise) and it is definately not all it is cracked up to be.
Would I go back? Nope – too pricey for what I got. Much better value to be had elsewhere in London.
Shame really as if they had priced the slut and the sarnie etc. sensibly, I would have probably been happy enough (does that mean I am eggslut-shaming them?).
I can only presume that Eggslut is much better in the States, as can’t say I get what the fuss about the place is based on the one over here.
They say they are looking to expand in the UK, but I can’t see them getting much traction at these prices outside of London. Here in Cardiff I can get the Leyli Joon & Co bacon & egg roti at Sticky Fingers
for less than both the slut and the Eggslut sausage, egg and cheese roll and I have no doubt as to which is bigger and better!
Address: 185 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London.
Tel: 020 3745 1979
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 08.00 -17.00