Franx, Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2

Last visited: Sunday 9th November 2008

Interior: Franx has the kind of utilitarian interior which may become classic some day: plastic formica tables, dusky pink wall tiles and black and pink chequerboard lino floor. It has the classic sandwich bar layout, a few tables and an unexpected wall-hugging bar at the windowless back. The lack of ventilation at the back has the unfortunate by-product that the door was kept wide-open on a chilly Sunday morning, not encouraging customers to linger. Perhaps because the noise from the street interfered with their listening, the staff had turned Heart FM up to stratospheric levels. Writing as one accustomed to blocking out radio noise while reading journal articles in caffs, this was made impossible here.

Food: I had the veggie breakfast which was mixed in quality: I was impressed by the generous portion of grilled tomatoes (3 thick slices of a beef tomato), the mushrooms were tinned, but okay when mixed into the beans but the hash browns had the sour taste of old oil from the deep fat fryer. Tea was good and the price was a standard (for tourist-land) 4 pounds 50, but it wasn’t a great experience.

I wouldn’t come back to Franx, which is a shame as I have fond memories of coming here much need tea and toasted sandwiches after marches when other venues were all closed, but there’s more choice in this bit of Covent Garden on a Sunday now and neither the venue, nor the food nor the welcome was particularly enticing.

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