Breakfast At Speedy's, The Cafe From Sherlock

By M@
Breakfast At Speedy's, The Cafe From Sherlock
Speedy's Cafe
"A Study in Scarlet", the familiar rouge canopy of Speedy's.

Start the day at Speedy's Cafe, beneath the lodgings of Holmes and Watson.

What would you expect to find in a 'Sherlock breakfast'? A 'Baker's treat' washed down by a cup of Moriar-tea? A lemon-entrée, my dear Watson? The pun possibilities are difficult to resist.

No such nonsense at Speedy's Cafe, the North Gower Street greasy spoon that found worldwide fame for its role in the BBC's Sherlock. This remains a down-to-earth, traditional cafe, with few nods to the detective series that put it on the map.

Inside Speedy's Cafe

Speedy's appears in almost every episode of the show. It stands in for 221 Baker Street above where, in flat b, reside Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman). Aside from a change of door number, the cafe appears on film just as it does in real life.

Still from Sherlock
Sherlock and John outside the cafe

It turns out that 9.30am is the perfect time to arrive — too late for workers seeking a proper breakfast, and too early to catch the first wave of tourists. We find an empty cafe.

Empty cafe.
"The Adventure of the Empty House". It won't stay this way.

Breakfasts here are as cheap as you'll find in zone 1 — a full English for £5.45, the full veggie for the same, and a 'Full Monty' (sadly not another film tie-in) for £5.60. That's laudable in a place that could easily inflate its prices and cash in on its fame. The one exception is the 'Sherlock Breakfast' — a very modern affair of avocados, salmon and mushrooms — which will set you back £3 more than an unbranded repast.

The Sherlock Breakfast
"The Adventure of the Frying Detective"

By 10am, Speedy's has to live up to its name. Every table is full. The crowd includes some HS2 construction workers on an early tea break, but the majority are clearly Sherlock fans on the trail of their heroes. The cafe seems particularly popular with Asian visitors, reflecting Sherlock's huge audience in China, Japan and Korea. It's three years since any new episodes were released, with no new series in the works, yet the fanbase has lost none of its fervour.

"The Final Problem": what to eat first.

While they're here, they can enjoy a breakfast that's hearty, filling and excellent value. By the time we leave, so much bacon smoke is in the air that we're practically inhaling meat.

More 'rind palace' than 'mind palace', Speedy's remains an unspoilt example of a traditional British cafe, despite its place in the guide books.

Speedy's Cafe, 187 North Gower Street (or 221 Baker Street). Nearest station: Euston Square.

Last Updated 17 February 2020