The perfect blend of richness and sour tang, from Ion Patisserie
My very first experience of eating out in New York was not a good one. A proper diner—red leatherette, gum-chewing waitress, vast plates of food, properly cinematic. In my own head, I was Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces or Tom Waits in every photograph ever—louche, sardonic, hungover. When I scanned the menu, I pondered what Tom Waits would want, and then pretty much ordered for both of us, effortlessly cool. Steak and eggs.
“Okay,” said the waitress. “How do you like your steak.” Rare. “And how do you like your eggs?” My brain froze. As I battled against jet-lag and the in-built reflex in all British men to turn into Hugh Grant on first contact with an American woman, her question left me flummoxed. “Medium?” I said, cringing. She replied slowly, like a lab assistant explaining chess to a chimp: “I mean, over-easy, sunny side up...” No idea. I’d heard these words in films, but had no clue what they meant. The pause was so heavy it had its own moon. “Fried?” I mumbled, and her pitying look broke my heart. Tom Waits, who is very much alive, was nonetheless spinning in his grave.
My second experience was better. Later that afternoon I sat in a different diner and ate a slice of New York cheesecake the size of my face while a far less withering waitress poured me unlimited black coffee without asking any difficult questions. That cheesecake was the salve to my wounded self-esteem.
Soft yet dense
Borough’s Ion Patisserie is the purveyor of London’s best cheesecakes, and the New York one, a perfect blend of creamy richness and sour tang, takes me back to that diner. Soft, yet amazingly dense. Like me when I’m jet-lagged.