The New Piccadilly Cafe, London- alas, very recently closed down
Oh Crikey, who remembers Heinz's London Grill? Baked Beans, Pork Sausage, Bacon and Nuggets of Kidney all bound up in the famous Tomato Sauce. In a green tin with the legendary Heinz label. And, apparently, there was "West End Grill" too; with mushrooms in it, rather than the kidneys. I'm assuming that Heinz suddenly woke up to the reality that many buyers out there weren't that keen on the noble kidney. Or maybe it was the other way round, and West End Grill came before the London Grill?
It might be a chicken and egg situation here. There's something slightly rakish about the word(s) "The West End", conjuring up images of The Stork Club, Dancing Girls, the neon lights of Piccadilly Circus, languid lunches in Charlotte Street, pea-souper fogs, Stephen Ward's cream Jaguar XK120, green-painted coffee stalls in the early hours of the morning: After The Ball is Over. I suppose Heinz were hoping that some of this sophisticated imagery would rub off on to their creations.
But as Sir John Betjeman once wrote (with apologies to Slough):
"Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath...
But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad,
They've tasted Hell.
It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It's not their fault they often go
And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead..."