By Jane Harrington
Poor Number 22 had a NIGHTMARE following the summer flood of 2013. Closed until October 2014, they made the most of their ‘time off’, running their outside catering firm and becoming a stalwart of various markets, including the Herne Hill Sunday market.
I love Number 22. I’ve been for dinner a few times since it reopened and I’ve always had a great time, the food is tasty and authentic and the sherry and wine lists are really well put together.
I’ve not been for breakfast before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from a spot I associate with evenings. The menu really has something to suit every taste. There’s the more traditionally brunchy eggs Benedict and Florentine, sitting alongside the Spanish offerings, with a full list of revueltos or Spanish style scrambled egg dishes and a ‘full breakfast’. I was also impressed to see it’s possible to order from the small plates section of the lunch and dinner menu. I like that flexibility.
I took my mum for breakfast and our usual weekly catch up. We were greeted at the door by lovely Frank, who explained the menu in full, made us a couple of great coffees and left us to decide what to order. Mum went for the eggs Benedict – she’s a big fan – with the hollandaise on the side. The eggs were perfectly cooked, not snotty, not hard, but oozey and tasty. The hollandaise was perfectly seasoned and not too overpoweringly rich, as it can be.
I chose the Number 22 full breakfast. It was exactly how I imagined, a beautiful tangy and slightly spicy tomato, chorizo and egg dish with a crunchy potato surprise at the bottom. I was worried it would be heavy, but no. The lovely warming flavours were perfect on a sleety day and the balance of ingredients meant I felt satisfied, not overloaded. Plenty of room for another coffee!
Congratulations Number 22, for coming back with strength and gusto. It’s great to have them back, joining the strong independent restaurants in an area falling victim to redevelopers and chains. Welcome back!
Just as Jane sent us this piece, news broke that Number 22 will be ceasing to trade due to ongoing issues with their compensation case with Thames Water after the flood. You can read the full explanation here on Facebook. We’re sorry to hear this and wish them all well for the future. Herne Hill will miss them!